The website saw demand from the US, Germany, France, and SingaporeCmglee / Wikimedia Commons

St John’s May Ball customers were left frustrated on Tuesday evening (06/02) after the website crashed for the second time in two days after over a million user requests.

The initial release of general tickets, scheduled for Monday for all Cambridge students and alumni, had to be postponed to the following day due to technical issues. The website then crashed again on Tuesday, attributed to a confirmed 1,520,000 access requests to the site.

The system, designed for a capacity of 500,000 requests, failed when the number of requests doubled, which caused a prolonged recovery period, leaving people unable to buy tickets.

2,600 requests to access the website occurred simultaneously on Monday evening.

Once the website was operational again, just under 500 tickets sold out within ten minutes. This occurred despite the staggered release of tickets in three waves: initially in January for John’s students, followed by two planned subsequent releases, on Monday the 5th and today (10/02) for all Cambridge students and alumni.

The St John’s May Ball committee, which used the same website last year, confirmed that this was the highest demand they had ever experienced for the Ball or any other ball using the system.

One student on Camfess called it a “shitshow”. Another read “Jesus may ball ticketing was done right. Take note John’s”.


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Information seen by Varsity can confirm that the website was also accessed by willing customers from the US, Germany, France, and Singapore, as well as the UK.

Sometimes described as the seventh-best party in the world, standard admission tickets for this year set students back a substantial £265.

When contacted for comment, the committee said that it “recognises that the difficulty to access tickets, as a result of the website crashing, is unfortunate and came as a surprise to us all”.

“This is by far the largest demand we have ever had for tickets, and we look forward to bringing the ball to life over the course of the next few months.”