Guests were greeted by fairy lights and a hot air balloon. Queens' May Ball Committee

There’s an expectation for biennial balls to be somewhat better than those that take place every year. Queens’ didn’t fail to meet this expectation: the college grounds turned into an extraordinary ‘Wanderlust’ adventure. Opening its gates at 8:47pm sharp, the journey was about to begin.

Entertainment was where Queens’ really got it right. Every court had plenty of fun things to do: from the inflatable gladiator game to a never-ending outdoor silent disco under a picturesque walnut tree. Main points of attraction were the dining hall turned into a game room which had stations for all tastes (from retro arcade games to post-modern virtual reality) and the classic English cab turned into a photo booth. The swing boats near the dodgem cars were extremely popular – unfortunately causing a slow queue.

Queens’ is known for its great music selection and the announcement of PJ Cooper as the main act served as a confirmation of this. Unfortunately, the singer chose to perform a selection of some of his most intimate songs which are not particularly suited to increasingly tipsy crowds perhaps looking for something more upbeat. The Italian duo DJ from Mars, on the other hand, provided some great danceable tunes and turned the otherwise uber-formal Old Hall into a psychedelic party. In the early hours of the morning the music selection turned into calmer tunes to ease the participants into the survivor-mode of the last few hours. The Fitz Barbershop choir beautifully accompanied the last ones standing towards the end of the ball.

The comedy and other performances were stunning in variety. The Cambridge Impronauts entertained the audience in a beautiful tent with hilarious sketches, all improvised. At the same time, the Fruity Clave Samba Band were colouring the main stage with a mesmerising choreography.

The only aspect that could be improved was the choice of theme and decorations: even though the hot air balloon at the entrance and the light projections on the walls by the mathematical bridge created a magical atmosphere, the overall theme was understated. ‘Wanderlust’ is, of course, a complex concept which leaves room to a number of interpretations. However, the way the different courts were organised around specific themes (‘magic forest’, ‘the planetarium’, ‘metropolis’,…), each very different from one another, undermined the feeling that the party had a coherent theme.

As hoped for by the guests who paid anything from £335 for a pair of tickets, food and drinks never ran out: highlights of the night included a professional cocktail bar with delicious drinks and Tibetan cuisine. Perhaps it can be argued that the edible insects were not a crowd pleaser but it was definitely good fun to spy on people’s reactions as they had a go at locusts and other bugs. Luckily, just outside a never-ending display of cute mini cupcakes and macarons was ready to relieve the guests’ taste buds. Another real crowd pleaser was the busy Aromi stand, bringing to life the flavours of Italy. And if Mediterranean flavours were not for you, there was always sushi to be grabbed from Cloister Court. As with the decorations, it has to be pointed out that the lack of a unifying theme made the food selection extremely eclectic and confusing at times.

In conclusion, Queens’ showcased a very enjoyable May Ball, colourful and never boring – even in the hardest hours in the early morning. Part of the income from the ticket sale was donated to Wintercomfort and Schistosomiasis Control Initiative – which was a very laudable idea. The fireworks punctuated the evening with a beautiful spectacle, making the occasional punters jealous of the joyful atmosphere inside the royal college

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