Cambridge May Ball Week is a week of post-exam parties, hosted by the 31 Cambridge University Colleges. The tradition started in 1830 and was originally a celebration of the annual university rowing race called, ‘The Bumps’. The first official May Ball was in 1866 and was hosted by The Trinity College Boat Club. Since then it has developed to encompass the end of exam season. They traditionally require black or white tie dress and tickets can range from £100-£300 each.
Once at the ball food and drink is free and there is a whole range of extravagant attractions. The contents of the ball are usually a closely guarded secret until the night of the event and in the past have included roller coasters, dodgems, carousels, silent discos, roller-skating, ferris wheels and lazer tag to name a few. The ball usually has a theme, a DJ and a famous headline act, which in the past has included Mumford&Sons, The Kooks, The Klaxons and The Stranglers. The ball usually kicks off at 7pm and lasts until 6am the following morning. If you manage to get to 6am without passing out or falling in the River Camb you get to have your ‘survivors’ photo taken! May Balls have also been known to offer punting trips to Grantchester, balloon rides and breakfasts in Paris to lucky raffle winners. The night usually ends with a spectacular fireworks display by the River Camb.
There is no doubt that The Cambridge May Ball Week is very lavish affair indeed!