Your Ultimate 2014 Guide to College Balls

St Anne’s

Lucy Fielding and Liviana Sordo-de-Cock

St Anne’s Ball 2014 (10th May, Saturday of 2nd week) is the only college ball to be held outside of Oxford this year at Kingston Bagpuize House and Gardens, an 18th century home and its surrounding parkland, which is entirely at the disposal of ball-goers for one night. The sheer size of the space allows the Ball to host fairground rides which you can’t get into most colleges’ grounds, different marquees for music and entertainment, and more food options than the average person will be able to take advantage of. If you are starting to worry about transport, don’t. Transport is arranged there and back, with all coaches leaving St Anne’s College early in the evening, and returning every half hour from midnight onwards.

The theme is La Belle Époque – a luxurious era in French and Belgian history that was all about lavishness and enjoyment. It’s exactly what you want from a college ball. The choices are endless in both food and entertainment. College balls often offer you a narrow selection of premixed drinks, this one will offer you all the standard drinks you would expect from a night out (G&T, vodka lemonade, Jägerbombs etc.) as well as beer, wine, soft drinks, cocktails and mocktails for those of you who don’t drink alcohol (or need to wake up and be productive the next day). If you start to feel a little bit tired towards the end of the night there will be tea and coffee, and if you just want a warm drink there will be hot chocolate too. To accompany all these drinks there will be food, lots of it, both sweet and savoury. In terms of the latter there will be burgers, pizzas, and Croques Monsieur (French toastie). For those with a sweet tooth there will be crêpes, donuts, and a chocolaterie (think of the film, Chocolat, and you’re close). Within these options will be more options, including ones for vegetarians and allergy sufferers (dairy, gluten, and nuts).  We defy anyone to say there’s nothing that tempts them there.


Audrey Davies

Keble Ball, Oxford’s largest annual black tie, is back again with “Romanov Russia” as its theme. The Tab reported Keble Ball 2013 was “a quality affair” with “strong and plentiful” drinks and “a photographer that made you look attractive when you’re actually really ugly”. Well, you’re in for a treat, because this year it promises to be even better. Our catering team have hinted at a Bolshevik Beer Hall, towers of macaroons and truffles, and of course every Russian’s “water of life”; vodka – and yes, we’ll have stock loads of it, so get psyched. These themed additions will be complemented by a wide array of world cuisine, in addition to the return of last year’s hugely successful cocktail bars and a line up filled with big names. Honestly, a premium black tie event with tickets at just £90? This is a guaranteed steal.


Leah Matthews

On May 10th 2014, Oxford’s most beautiful yet underrated college will transform each of its unspoilt 15th century quads into Heaven, Hell and Eden. At only £90 for a non-dining ticket, Lincoln’s Paradise Lost ball is set to be a night of cosmic proportions, at least where fun is concerned. Guests will also be given the chance to experience Lincoln’s renowned Cordon Bleu-standard food, with dining tickets for a scrumptious three course feast set at just £129.  Rumours are already flying of a huge headliner from an up-and-coming American band, and a newly signed London talent, not to mention one of Oxford’s biggest DJ’s taking control of the dance tent. Guests will be invited into the splendour of Paradiso where they can revel in sheer decadence, before descending into the perils of Hell to party like sinners until the sun comes up. In short, Lincoln Ball has something on offer for everyone; if a night of hedonistic partying in Hell is not for you, then the legendary Ringaringaroses Garland-making company await in Eden, alongside multiple other exciting features to beguile the senses (watch this space!). What is more, the committee have some of London’s hottest street food vendors lined up, such as Anna Mae’s legendary Pulled Pork: spotted at last year’s Bestival and shortlisted for the BBC Good Food Awards. The committee will soon be making more tantalising foodie announcements, and have promised that a sumptuous feast will be available.

St Hilda’s

Rebecca Jones

As one of the cheapest balls in Oxford, we provide a plethora of entertainment options, which basically means the Hilda Ball is the ultimate value-for-money ball. Set against the backdrop of Fin de Siecle, the night promises to be one of justified decadence, glamorous indulgence and shameless debauchery. Music acts include Collector’s Club, Teddy and Dot’s Funk Odyssey, as well as Hilda’s very own Jack and the Beanstalks, whose popular appeal in the past means they’ll be returning for the third year in a row. The night is expected to end with a silent disco conducted by DJs from Babylove (Action Stations) and Cellar (RUNDFUNK). If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there will also be a huge 25ft sq bouncy castle, a thirty-player game of lasertag, giant connect 4 and even an oversized game of chess. For those who prefer something a bit less hectic, there will also be an interactive photo booth and a shisha bar where you can just relax and listen to the several acts lined up for the acoustic stage. And who can forget about food? Those with dining tickets will be able to tuck into a delicious five course menu featuring a host of rich, provocative French cuisine. For informal dining, there will also be tons on offer, including our resident favourite G&D’s, a gourmet barbeque and rustic beef Bourguignon. Lastly, what’s a night of revelry without unlimited alcohol and vibrant cocktails? With so many fantastic choices on offer, the Hilda ball at least wins in the variety stakes.


Andy Thomas

Returning to Worcester as part of a triennial cycle, the 2014 Commemoration Ball coincides with Worcester’s 300th anniversary and will be the pinnacle of the College’s events marking the tercentenary year. Befitting the occasion, 2,000 guests will be treated to a night of elegance, sophistication and bespoke entertainment, spread amongst the College’s extensive grounds and gardens. With the orchard and lake forming part of the enchanting backdrop, an evening of the spectacular is guaranteed. In addition to our ground-breaking partnership with The Ministry of Sound, many closely guarded secrets remain, and will be revealed in the build up to the Ball. Our guests can expect the finest cuisines, handpicked from outstanding national favourites and boutique local suppliers, complemented by a diverse and exciting array of drinks to be served throughout the evening. A glittering musical and entertainment line-up, showcased across several indoor and outdoor stages will captivate from the setting of the sun until the first light of morning. In such a historic year, this will be a truly unforgettable occasion. To those lucky enough to hold a ticket – we look forward to welcoming you through the gates of Worcester this June.

St John’s

Flora Sheldon

St. John’s College Commemoration Ball, the Ball of the Year, will take you on a grand journey through the seasons. On 27th June, there quads and gardens undergo a transformation into different seasons. They recently signed a fantastic band who will be headlining their main stage, and this mysterious guest will be joined by many more great musical acts that they have lined up on all three stages. From a summer festival to a wintry fairground, there will be festivities for everyone from dusk until dawn. The unlimited drink and many seasonal food options we have on offer will keep you going all night, and those of you that do make it will, of course, be treated with a fine breakfast in the morning. At just £155 for a year’s worth of fun in one unforgettable night, make sure you get a ticket whilst they are still available.