Trinity May Ball

Read the Tab’s verdicts on Monday’s May Balls at Trinity, Jesus and Clare.

Click on the link for our coverage of Jesus and Clare.  

Trinity May Ball was always going to be controversial. At £240 per double ticket, it certainly wasn’t a cheap affair, and many people will inevitably make the usual, tenuous complaints: the queue was too long, the food was below par and the ball didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it. But, I am not many people. The queue was well managed, the food was delicious and the ball certainly surpassed my expectations, despite some rather odd headline acts.

I say odd; I’m not entirely sure that’s quite the word I’m looking for. Alphabeat were fun; the ABBA UK tribute band were an ABBA UK tribute band; and Wheatus were definitely odd. They clearly recognised that Teenage Dirtbag is their only hit, and so they played an extended version of it, which somehow managed to last a good 15 minutes. The short rap that provided an interlude between the audience drunkenly slurring the lyrics and Wheatus’ main man more coherently slurring the lyrics was ambitious at best. But, shameful as it may be, I thoroughly enjoyed the set: drinking champagne and watching a Cindies classic live was simply priceless.

This year, though, the brilliance of Trinity May Ball did not lie in the music. If there’s one thing that everyone will be talking about, it’s the fireworks. As punts gathered on the Cam, and guests gathered on the banks of the Cam, anticipation built. And then the fireworks began. What followed can only be described as 20 minutes of pure excellence. The display was perfectly timed, the music apt and the experience simply magical.

Of course, all the old favourites were on offer. Punt tours were regular, the Venetian Masquerade was beautiful, the Champagne never ran out, and Oysters, handmade chocolate truffles and delicious cheeses were plentiful. The fairground involved candyfloss and dodgems, catering for the more excitable among us, whereas the chillout tent offered warm drinks and acoustic music for those of us more inclined to relax in the early hours of the morning.

In a way, though, we expected the old favourites. We would have complained bitterly had the punt queue been too long to bother with, or had the champagne prematurely ran out. In fact, we did complain bitterly when the exquisite gin ran out and Gordon’s started being used. But, it was more the intricate details and small touches that made Trinity May Ball a night to remember. Instead of balloon decorations, flower arrangements festooned the College; tents were heated; dance floors were lit and a cocktail bar and jazz band accompanied the casino. It was these small touches that made the ball so special, and made it so easy to understand why Vanity Fair apparently named Trinity May Ball the 3rd best party in the world.

The only complaint that can be made was that the queue to enter the comedy tent was exceedingly long, and so I missed out on some great comic acts. However, the abundance of alternative entertainment meant that I was hardly short of things to do. Somewhere between my fifth elderflower martini and American waffle breakfast, I think I realised just how lucky I was to be at Trinity May Ball. It was truly spectacular.

Expensive? Yes. A bit pretentious? Maybe. Worth it? Without a doubt.

Food and Drink: 

Wow Factor:

Value for Money:


Star Attraction: Fireworks

Biggest Turn Off: Comedy Tent Queue

  • Trinity

    it was simply AMAZING.

  • clara

    I totally agree about the fireworks!! Altho- oysters plentiful? I missed mine :( sob- i bviously weren't quick enough on the mark! 3500 oysters gone within 50 mins of ball starting (9pm) but otherwise, yeh it was great (except it was freezing cold tho obv that cudnt be helped) xx

  • Jonny

    The fireworks were insane!

  • Nina

    This is spot on. The ball was even better than last year's and near perfect, with the tiny problem of the comedy tent always being full. The fireworks were, quite possibly, the best twenty minutes of my life. Happily there is already a video of them on YouTube!

  • Rob

    Totally agree.

  • I <3 Watson

    The best bit was the geezas in the dingy

  • Dannie

    what an amazing ball alphabeat were so fun and abba were hilarious

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  • lad

    trinity dominated john's

  • Sam

    Another example of mental illnesses such as depression not being taken seriously or understood properly by society.

    The part about the tutor not replying to Jane and then blaming her when she approached him in his office is shocking but sadly not uncommon amongst tutors/admin staff in University of London institutions.

  • Anon

    Absolutely typical, universities are widely known to be utterly inept and insensitive when dealing with issues of mental health as shown by many having pitifully poor student health and counselling services.

  • Jonathon

    The operation made her depressed, and she could not attend classes. If it was so bad then she should have dropped out for at least a year as it went on so long. They have not revealed The University has a policy which they have to uphold regardless of her situation, which is that she needed a doctor’s note during the submission. This is how the university ensures people don’t complain after they have been lazy afterwards. It would have helped her to know the rules of the university. She says no one noticed when she stopped attending lectures. It is not the fault of the university, she could have easily reached out for help when she stopped attending lectures.What about her family and friends? I know this girl personally and she was going out clubbing during these assignments and while she was sad, she clearly had time for alternative entertainment. It’s obvious she is trying to get grades after being lazy and not attending class.

    • George Potter

      Bullshit. The fact that you say “she could have easily reached out for help” shows that you have absolutely no understanding of what it’s like to have depression. And for that you should be thankful because I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

    • Sarah

      You’ve clearly never had depression then, huh? My god I hope you are NOT a nursing student as well. I would much rather a nurse like ‘Jane’ who has some empathy, than someone who may have decent grades but clearly lacks the most basic understanding for a common but serious problem.

    • Kayleigh

      Please remember the consequences of such a callous post on the student, if she is reading your comments. I’d suggest a trigger warning- calling somebody ‘lazy’ who has a diagnosed mental health condition is not only discrimination, but is illegal.

      I’d encourage The Tab to remove this post, as it could have a detrimental effect on students suffering depression who read it.