A step-by-step guide to surviving Mayday

It’s not all about the Morris Men

Oxford City Council describes the night of the 30th April as one of “dancing, singing and revelry” – and how right they are. Here follows a guide through the hours to the most unusual night of Oxford’s social calendar.

Does Oxford get any cooler than this?

Does Oxford get any cooler than this?


Step one is afternoon entertainment. This year there’s the exciting possibility of attending a festival – one of which even boasts pyrotechnics and CO2 jets – presumably in case Collections don’t quite go to plan. You can see Stormzy or Miss Dynamite there, or you could go old school and go for a punt down the river with the obligatory bottle of Pimms. Just skip the standard argument over where the right place to stand in a Punt is. The short answer is always: no one cares.


Once evening arrives its time to prepare yourself for the night ahead. Get the pre-drinks in and the tropical house on. Don’t go out too early because in reality, you’re playing the long game. The ultimate goal is Magdalen bridge at 6am and to achieve that maintaining sound blood sugar and plentiful blood alcohol levels are essential. Pizza is recommended.

Mayday prep

Pizza based prep


The next step is to hit up whichever poorly lit, sticky floored shit-hole you fancy and prepare dance for longer than seems physically possible. Clubs will be open till 6am – although this will feel much, much longer. Imagine having to watch an entire episode of Holyoaks, then triple it.

Light to moderate dance moves will help maintain stamina, think fist-pumping or foot-tapping rather than hip-thrusting or breakdancing. Despite your sick moves you’ll have to reject the advances of other drunken revellers, you’ve got your eye on the prize, and the possibility of a boozy hook-up sadly doesn’t figure in the full Mayday experience.

A kiss is all you'll be getting

A kiss is all you’ll be getting

VKs, each containing around 30g of sugar and 1.1 units of alcohol will maintain both sugar and alcohol levels brilliantly and should therefore be the drink of choice for club activities. Consumption of one VK-per-40 minutes can act as a rough guide. Any less and you might crash and decide Mayday is a pointless and exhausting attempt at organised fun. Any more and you risk being ejected for passing out in the toilets.


As the early morning arrives you can finally leave. Drag yourself past the inexplicably happy Morris Men down to Magdalen Bridge. At 6am a group of young boys in dresses will sing from the tower at the top of the Magdalen Chapel. You won’t be able to see or hear anything, but like a post Bop scuffle, at least you can say you were there.


Once that’s done its finally ok to take yourself off to bed. Head pounding and clothes sodden with drink and human discharge, you’ll wish you went to sleep hours ago.

You, post Mayday

Should have gone to bed at 3

Mayday will end you. You’ll be so tired that you’ll want to sleep for a week. But actually, by Wednesday you’ll realise that you’ve experienced one your strangest and best nights in Oxford. You’ll be talking about it for weeks, or at least until your next mental night out.