Newnham Summer Soirée Cancelled

Image credit: Steve Cadman

Newnham College has become the latest college to be forced to cancel its May Week festivities as the event posted a notice on its Facebook event page earlier today.

Tara Morrison, the June Event President, posted a statement to the event page this morning announcing the cancellation of the event. No reason was given for the cancellation, but it is possible that current building work, for which the College’s permit expires in March 2019 according to Cambridge City Council documents, is running behind schedule. All ticket holders will be reimbursed the full price of their ticket.

“I can only apologise for this truly unfortunate situation,” Morrison wrote. “The Committee will continue to work to ensure that all issues that may arise from this decision are rectified swiftly and should you have any questions or concerns please get in contact with myself or any other member of Newnham’s June Event Committee.”

Titled “Reverie”, the event promised students an opportunity to “escape reality” and explore an “enchanted wilderness” in the summer sunset. Taking place on Tuesday 19 June, the event was in hot competition with St Johns College May Ball and the sold-out Christs May Ball.

Newnham is not the first college to have been forced to cancel its May Week event. Gonville and Caius College’s May Ball was cancelled well over a year ago due to overrunning building works, whilst Trinity Hall’s June Event suffered from poor ticket sales and controversy over cultural appropriation. Sidney Sussex’s June Event, also titled “Reverie” and influenced by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is still set to go ahead.

At £65 a ticket, the event is over £20 more expensive than Murray Edwards’ offering, and more than twice the price of the Newnham MCR Garden Party, still scheduled to go ahead on 21 June.

The Cambridge Student received the following comment from the June Event Committee:  “It is always a difficult decision to cancel an event that a lot of people have worked so hard to create. For Newnham’s June Event our main challenge this year has been ticket sales. Committees running these events are often working to minimum budget requirements and specific deadlines or targets set by college. Selling tickets and meeting target income in a set period of time is well understood amongst many May Ball/June Event committees, and lack of ticket sales is an inherent risk experienced by many events.

Our ticket sales were impacted by the date of our event being the same night as John’s and Christ’s May Balls, and also the day following Trinity, Jesus and Clare. This year the Committee were trying to sell a new event the ‘Summer Soirée’. We worked to make it a similar scale of the usual June Event whilst dealing with constraints placed upon us by college mainly due to logistical limitations as a result of the building works happening on college grounds. Being on the Committee means that you see all the amazing things planned and the many reasons people have to buy tickets, but sometimes convincing people of this proves difficult, and this time round we have been unsuccessful.

This is not a reflection on what Newnham is able to create, or any future events. Looking back at previous June Events and Garden Parties they are always really great fun, and in the future I see no reason for it to be any different. Every committee from every college works hard to make these events amazing with Newnham’s 2018 Committee being no exception.”

This article was update on 18th March to include the Committee's comment.

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