May Ball vs June Event: Which is worth it?

Pomp vs price

As May week has finally drawn to a close, let’s compare a May ball and a June event. I went to Downing May ball this past Tuesday, and Trinity Hall’s June event on Thursday.

What’s the difference between a May ball and a June event?

While we are all reasonably familiar with what to expect from a May ball, a June event is shrouded in much more mystique.

From Tit Hall June event’s own website, it says: “The June Event is an annual celebration that takes place in the beautiful & historic grounds of Trinity Hall, at the heart of Cambridge. Guests are invited to spend a magical night under the summer stars, with unlimited drinks, food, music and entertainment. ”

This sounds very similar to what is offered by a May ball. So, what’s the difference?

From my experience of both Downing May ball and Tit Hall June event this week, the biggest differences are the variety of food and drink, and the scale of the ents. A June event also ends at 3am, compared to the 6am finale of a May ball. You can expect a May Ball to have much more choice of food and drink, the headliners to be bigger, and to generally have more non-musical entertainment available.

However, is a May ball worth the increase in price?


The price of a Downing student ticket was £179, compared to the £99 Tit Hall ticket. Considering that the June event ticket is nearly half the price of a May ball, it could be reasonably expected that it would have half the food/drinks/ents. However, this is not always the case.

At Tit Hall, you got bang for your buck.

Post-May ball exhaustion (photo credits: Kirsty Falconer)


Downing had three headliners: Toploader, Tinchy Stryder, and DJ Fresh, whose combined total of monthly Spotify listeners is almost nine million. Tit Hall had one headliner, DJ Paulette, who has less than 3,000 total monthly listeners.

Both events had nearly-constant live music throughout, with cover bands and student-led bands providing some of the best sets of the night. Additionally, both events had silent discos, so there was no lack of musical entertainment.

While Tit Hall offered a good amount of non-musical entertainment, Downing definitely took the prize here: there was a carousel, a ceilidh, swings, face painters, tarot readers…

On the Downing carousel (photo credits: Kirsty Falconer)

Tit Hall also had some of these ents, however, my friend waited over 90 minutes in the tarot queue, so the more limited options increased the wait times for the ents considerably.


Tit Hall is a much smaller college than Downing, so everything feels more condensed. While this has some upsides, such as not feeling too overwhelmed, and managing to get around everything (which I couldn’t do at Downing), it also had its drawbacks.

The queues at Tit Hall were much worse than at Downing, where I rarely had to queue at all. While I don’t mind queueing for food and drink, to an extent, there were points where I had to wait over 30 minutes to use the toilet.

Food and drink

Like I said, the queues at Tit Hall were much worse than at Downing, since there was much less choice. However, the food was incredible at both, and considering that Tit Hall was near half the price of Downing, you can’t really complain.

One of the food stalls at Tit Hall (photo credits: Kirsty Falconer)

The drink selection was more limited at Tit Hall as well, but what was on offer was very nice. The alcohol at Downing was plentiful and still flowing at 5am.

At Tit Hall, however, it became very difficult to get a drink past 1am. I can’t say for sure when exactly the alcohol ran out, but ran out it did. The food also stopped quite early, whereas at Downing, you could get food all night.


A May ball has slightly better everything, which is to be expected, but for the price, a June Event definitely takes the win.

If you’re unsure whether the grandeur of a May ball is enough to justify the eye-watering price tag, a June Event offers a very similar experience, for half the price.

Featured image credits: Kirsty Falconer

Articles recommended by this author: