Review: Magdalene May Ball

Image credit: Louisa Keight

On Wednesday 21st June, the Magdalene biannual May Ball was held. Guests began queuing from around 8.30pm, dressed in white tie, and enjoying the warm evening. At 9.30pm the gates opened and the guests were swiftly admitted, stepping into a magical scene and greeted by glasses of champagne. 

The ball was exquisite, certainly living up to the price tag- all aspects of the event were classy and sophisticated. 

In Pepys court, the guests were treated to oysters, sushi and Jack’s Gelato, in addition to fantastic entertainment in the form of crystal ball jugglers, fire dancers and aerialists who performed in a giant birdcage throughout the night. 

On the hour, every hour, there was a projection show whereby a stunning animation was projected on to the 18th century façade of the Pepys library. 

The rest of the ball spread throughout the beautiful gardens, anyone who might have worried about the size of the college being too small would be proved wrong. 

In terms of food available, not only were there rarely any queues, but also a wonderful variety of food on offer. The favourite mac and cheese did, of course, make an appearance, in addition to vegetable and chicken gyoza from L’ail Olive, and a London street food truck serving gourmet meatballs. In the dining tent, all the guests were treated to dessert canapés and cheese and accompaniments, and come morning, breakfast appeared. 

The drinks were fantastic, a highlight being the smoke and mirrors bar in the pet cemetery, where the drinks were made with dry ice, adding to the extraordinary atmosphere. The queues were minimal, if existent, and the drinks flowed throughout the night, keeping guests happy. 

In terms of the non-musical entertainment, Magdalene kept it classy, with banana boat swings, crazy golf and a miniature railway. In spite of all this, the most popular was the punting, which ran from 11.30pm until 5am, taking students to the bridge of sighs and back, a truly wonderful and beautiful ride. 

The music did not disappoint, KT Tunstall drew a huge crowd, and although she did insist in playing a few lesser-known songs, once the old classics began, the crowd went wild. The silent disco was also a highlight, consistently busy, but really coming into its own at around 5am, whilst some guests chose to end the night on the mainstage with the ceilidh band. 

All in all the event was not one to be missed, guests were made to feel like royalty, and the romantic feeling of the ball cannot be denied. The night flew by, leaving some students at a loss of what to do after the survivor’s photo, inspiring them to jump into the river!

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