Trinity May Ball, Cambridge University
Also known as the First and Third Trinity Boat Club May Ball, Trinity College’s May Ball is one of the most highly-anticipated and memorable events on the student calendar and an unrivalled showcase of revelry. Founded in 1866 it is one of the oldest and most prestigious parties in UK academia and attracts 2,000 partygoers each year to enjoy the extravagant entertainment, food and fireworks.
GL events UK has supplied temporary structures to this event since 2007. Every year it’s a challenge to transform the college into a Ball venue during the academic term with limited shared access to the site.
Trinity College requires high-quality, stunning structures for use as entertainment, catering and hospitality plus carpeted walkways and lighting that was suitable for such a prestigious event that sometimes attracts international musicians to perform as the headline act
The main attraction was the spectacular red-carpeted clear marquee located inside Neville’s court; one of the inner courts of the College surrounded on all four sides by college buildings.
A network of neat red-carpeted walkways was laid over the grass throughout the College to connect up all the marquees and mark out the safe routes between them all.
Other marquees included the comedy and dance tents which were blacked-out with dark linings and dark PVC roofs, creating a real club feeling.
• Dining Structure: 90ft x 90ft Showspan
• Acoustic stage: 50ft x 40ft pole tent
• Jazz garden: 16m x 40m Premier with clear PVC roof and sides
• Comedy and Dance tents: two 15m x 20m Ali Frame tents with black PVC roof and black lining walls
• Food stalls and photo booths: various pagodas
• Red carpet: approximately 3,000sqm including 1,100sqm of walkways
During the construction phase the College is always full of students and access is restricted, so the on-site team had to work diligently with minimal disruption to the students, staff and college services.
No trucks are allowed access into the grounds and no forklifts or vehicles are allowed on the grass, so all equipment had to be unloaded to a central avenue then carried by hand to its final location. For the marquee in Neville’s court, the team had to carry the equipment along a 500m two-tonne bridge. Any damage to the grass would incur a £200 per sqm charge.
It took the six-strong full site team four days to complete the build and a reduced team was available during the event to respond to any emergencies or queries that the client may have had. Once the festivities were over at 6am the following morning the team was back to action to clear the site in just under two days, once again manually carrying equipment by hand to the truck.
GL events UK worked closely with the May Ball Committee, key staff at Trinity College and officers at Cambridge City Council to make sure everything was completed to a high standard, on time and within budget.
Once again a high level of service was delivered which pleased the client and ensured a continued working relationship. The carefulness and the planning of operations meant no damage was sustained to the grass areas, thus avoiding the charge.
“Thank you so much for making Trinity Ball such a great success again. I can’t fault GL’s work this year. I really appreciate your assistance throughout the planning and set up process. Your help made it much easier for us to sort out the more intricate details in the confidence that GL would deliver high-quality service yet again.
Joe and I would like to particularly thank Darren for his work. No matter how many times we pestered him, he was always cooperative and very professional.” said Jordan Lawrence, Technical Officer.