How did Keble Ball sell 1,600 tickets in nine minutes?

Is it cos it’s edgy


Keble shifted 1,600 tickets at £99 last Saturday morning at 10am, despite fierce competition from tens of other Oxford balls vying for the same weekends. How? Why? What?

The confusion behind the ball’s theme, “Panopticon”, starts with the two video trailers on the Keble Ball webpage. While it may attract some, not everyone appreciates the theme. One Keble finalist asks: “Why the fuck would you theme the ball after a literal prison? It’s a bit pretentious if you ask me.”

Matt Segarty, third year at Keble, adds: “I only know what Panopticon is because I looked it up.  It seems so stupid. If it works on the night, then great, but I assume they’re trying to have a deliberately quirky or edgy theme. I think lots of people will be annoyed if the ball isn’t as good as previous years because the committee deliberately tried to be out there.”

The college hosts a ball every year, and has gone with less “out there” themes in the past, including Alice in Wonderland, Romanov Russia and The Gothic Revival.

ball 1

According to the site, ball-goers can also enjoy “unstoppable beats created by hit house DJs. Your energy will rise as some of the freshest talent in grime and garage take to the stage, and you will put on your dancing shoes to some classic rock and roll.”

It seems the committee has capitalised on the growing number of grime, garage and house-themed nights in the city centre, such as SE10 and ISIS’s Grime and Punishment. Wadham’s Wonderland Ball has taken a similar route, booking Sub Focus, the electronic music producer, as its headliner.

silent disco

But Matt thinks the rapid sell-out is down to other factors: “I think the Keble ball has a great reputation. It’s historically always been a success, and is usually better priced than many other balls. Most Keble students at least had more or less decided they’d be going again even before the theme was revealed. If people say they chose the ball because it has a cool theme I believe them, but I still think the theme’s stupid.”

It seems that Keble has gone for the edgy vibe this year, and bizarrely, it’s paid off so far. We’ll have to see if the ball itself lives up to the hype.

You can view our comprehensive list of Oxford balls here.