King’s Affair 2013

Max Toomey

MAX TOOMEY loved the variety of ents at an action packed King’s Affair.

King’s Affair

The Beast Within

Wednesday 19th June, £70

“It’s all about beats, not Bollinger,” Tommy, a bloody alien protruding from his chest, reminded me as we entered Chapel Court to a vast array of mostly not-quite-on-theme costumes.

Meth, not even once. Well Ok, just this once.

Meth, not even once. Well Ok, just this once

Stopping only for hog roast, our first catch of the night was the ever fantastic Laurie Lewis and the Fat Cats. The best costume of the night, in Tommy’s opinion, went to Jessica O’Driscoll-Breen, whose energetic dancing swung the baby hanging between her legs around in an almost hypnotising fashion.

Tommy had to be held back from vaulting the barrier even before their first song began. Sadly for them, their set coincided with doors opening, so only about eight people saw them. In fact, the main stage area was never quite filled, a testament to the broad variety of entertainment going on in the many different rooms.

My greatest criticism was the impossibility of the programme; rather than telling you what was on where, there were only a few highlights on at each stage and no times given for any of them. By the time we realised Sophie Jamieson was going to be in the Chapel, it was far too late to see her. Not knowing what, when or where things were on was really quite frustrating.

Once I learned to stop worrying about finding out what I could see and start to enjoy just being in whatever room I was in, the night improved immensely. From ska in one room, to hip hop in the Bunker through to cheesy disco upstairs, no one was left wanting.

power rangers

Setting up a stage in the bar was an inspired idea, making queueing for drinks (which ended up more as a game of slightly aggressive human tetris) far more enjoyable.

Dub Phizix announced their entrance with: “Anyone got any weed? I’m gonna smoke it up after this one I don’t care where we are.” True to their word, the bar was rather pungent throughout the set. Their beats got everyone moving and the crowd loved the freestyling about costumes in the room. Kidnap Kid, who followed, kept the drinks queues entertained and the room filled.

At every point, I had to ask about eight or nine people around me who was actually playing where I was – but it seemed like the majority of them were in the same boat as me. Even a committee member (identified by his special wristband) did not know the name of the energetic grime artist on the main stage. The performer in question turned out to be Ghetts, who set the crowd off with every song – and to a lesser extent by taking his top off. Afriquoi – mixing in electronic beats with African dance music – were a particular highlight, even getting the hyper efficient recycling team boogying whilst they went about their business.

Ghetts asked the audience "What subject should I study?"

Ghetts asked the audience “What subject should I study?”

Food was plentiful, with the usual hot dogs, hog roast and hamburgers, whilst fajitas, falafel and crepes kept queues everywhere very short. Sadly, the same cannot be said for alcohol. Very early on in the night, the table doing what I assumed to be rum and coke vanished and it appeared that all the beer in the Bunker had run out within half an hour. The aforementioned main bar ran out of tonic at 1am and the whole place was dry by four. Most people didn’t seem too phased, however.

Whilst personally not a big fan of time intensive activities at balls, as I tend to sober up in the queue, Tommy found the laser quest “fucking amazing”, though the obstacle course was “nauseating to the extent that I felt like I was being rebirthed, and you were forced to do it three times which was tortuous.” The outdoor building projections were a lovely touch that kept all those having a break outside entranced.

All in all, King’s Affair succeeded in what it set out to do: despite tickets half the price, the quality, as well as the quantity, of the entertainment matched some May Balls; this was, however, at the expense of providing quite enough alcohol. A worthwhile trade off, in my opinion.

Food and Drink:


Wow Factor:


Value for money:


Star attraction: Variety of music

Biggest Turn-Off: The awful programme

  • FYI

    I found you could get booze right up until the end at 5 at at least some of the bars.
    And most of the things you mentioned that ran out (beer in the bunker for instance) were re-stocked again shortly afterwards. The gaps were frustrating but not catastrophic…

  • a KA attendee

    ahhh so that’s what happened…

    memory slightly hazy…

  • Confused.

    Some pretty major flaws yet almost full marks? Robinson was £89, so it’s not like King’s were even that cheap.

    • Apples and Oranges

      Yea but Robinson had like one proper stage of music… KA had 6

  • attende

    You could get the times online, but j agree that it is really bad not to have them in the programming or at least make a bigger deal out of then being online, I think the failure to do this killed the main tent which was a big shame

    Only complaint though, rest of it was class

    • Nah

      I’m more of a Guardian man.

  • who

    the fuck is Tommy?

  • Will D

    times was musics bad (my bad). had a late cancellation and had to reorganize some of the acts. meant the program couldn’t be done in time to be printed.

  • personally

    i found the whole night boring and would prefer us to double the price and then spend big on getting more stuff going on. seemed like alright music, shit food, a shitty bouncy castles and some dodgems that took an hour to queue for, which to me isn’t good enough

    • Or…

      Go to one of the dozen other balls that already does this (and which themselves get boring after a while) and piss off raining on the parade of everybody who fancies something a bit different.

    • Mate,

      1) If you’re going to KA for the food you got lost along the way. Cheap and cheerful.
      2)Dodgems take ages to queue for, deal with it. That’s the case literally everywhere you go.
      3) The bouncy castles, like the dodgems appear pretty much the same every where and if you’re going to KA for them then you’d be better off going to strawberry fair or something.
      4) Alright music? Get some taste. From The Brass Funkeys to Ghetts to Afroquoi there was not only a massive brilliant fucking range, there was also some genuinely new stuff instead of the standard one hit wonder pop-y bullshit of other balls.
      Sounds like you should have gone to pembroke or something. You would have been happier in black tie.

  • moaning myrtle

    Seriously? This was dire. Toilets failed. Drinks took about 1 year to get and were basic bitch. Power went dead for a lot of the night in a few areas. Noone could hear anything in the chapel. And 90£ is a lot for some super edgy DJs no one knows. Some fun bits but overall, glorified bop. 2/5.

    • Anonymous

      Dj’s almost everyone that King’s Affair is aimed at knows*

  • Completely Fair

    Kings Affair gets the same marks as John’s, which had overflowing booze, two water features, fireworks, amazing acts and a comprehensive, legible and utterly beautiful programme

    • And cost twice as much.

    • iseurdnbkj

      Johns gets points docked because it is Johns and nobody likes it.

  • List your ham.

    I’m really sad when I see the big queues at King’s cos it means all those people are too preoccupied with food and drink and are not getting funky on the dancefloor (which, as we all know, belongs to all of us). As has been said, this party is made for people who are really really into music, and long may that last. Being drunk really isn’t the thing for music appreciation- either do a Mr Scruff and stick to tea all night (a really great option), or, y’know, find something else to put you in the mood. I mean, that’s my personal advice, but to each his own I guess.

    You didn’t spend any of this review talking about how awesome it was to see Chad Valley. That’s a shame, because that was a really great act. The only thing that makes King’s slightly worse than similar parties outside of Cambridge are the rules enforced by the College which prevent us from having enough alcohol to get everyone absolutely shitfaced. But I’ll take that because it’s held in such a beautiful setting and because someone thought up the great idea of serving up some delicious quorn pitta.

  • Hold up

    People were drinking?

  • Moniker Liwinski

    KA was a pre-party to something much more special. People in the know will know.

  • Best

    bit was the after party on the river

  • King’s Affair

    Aka Fez May Ball. Some genuinely novel music on the may week circuit but if pills are not your thing then do not expect a lot from the food and drink.



  • In My Opinion

    It was affairking disaster.