Oxford balls are ridiculously expensive and socially discriminatory

(134 Posts)
funnyperson Sun 17-Feb-13 04:18:00

Well just that, really. Assuming that a student is sociable enough to have friends at different colleges, it is nice to be able to think of going to a number of different balls, especially in the summer. Except that the 'cheap' ball tickets are £85 and more usually £120. A young student recently won free tickets to two balls, totalling £210. Given that the balls are the main college social events this is sad. Min budget for tickets to go to, say, 5 balls a year including the Union ball but excluding a law society ball would be £700. The rich, in short, only dance with the rich.

BlueyDragon Sun 17-Feb-13 04:24:52

Why would you go to five plus the Law Soc one? Go to your own college's, much the best fun. FWIW, the prices don't seem to have gone up much from when I was there nearly 2 decades ago. There are loads of expensive balls run outside Oxford and you should see the cost of dining in order to qualify as a barrister if you want to attend the Grand Nights instead of Sunday lunch.

What's your point, OP?

BlueyDragon Sun 17-Feb-13 04:26:15

It certainly wasn't the rich dancing with the rich in my experience. But we didn't go to five balls a year.

LadyWidmerpool Sun 17-Feb-13 04:26:27

Well how do you think they should be paid for then? Balls are very expensive to put on.

funnyperson Sun 17-Feb-13 04:29:28

Qualifying as a barrister sounds expensive too. Well I would have thought it might be fun to go to such events with titles as 'Cirque du Soleil' or 'the forbidden palace' or the lawsoc or Oxford union balls with friends =the websites of the balls look interesting. But it is fun out of the pocket of our family and you can scorn all you like but tis so.

funnyperson Sun 17-Feb-13 04:31:55

Well they seem to be put on with sponsorship and I think some of the sponsor ship should be used to bring down prices, if necessary to have less elaborate balls so that 'poorer' students can go if they want

BlueyDragon Sun 17-Feb-13 04:42:00

I'm not scorning, yes all the balls do look appealing and it would be great fun to go. But if you can't afford it you can't afford it and that's it, surely? Even amongst those at my college who I'm assuming you'd class as rich (public school), they weren't going to five balls a year. Go to one on a cheap ticket and enjoy it.

The sponsorship does bring the cost down, but not enough. If the ball committee makes a loss they can get sent down (college's debt, I believe). There's no reason to overprice because you want to sell enough tickets to break even. Big name bands, flashy websites, the latest party games are all expensive.

Is it you or a family member who's in this dilemma?

funnyperson Sun 17-Feb-13 04:45:16

Who wouldn't want to go to these?
www.queensball2013.co.uk/
www.lmhball.com/
www.balliol750.co.uk/
www.wadhamcollegeball.co.uk/
www.newcollegeball.co.uk/
I think its true though that students seem to go to their own college ball mainly. I should add that otherwise Oxford is the most wonderful place. I am bound to be put down I suppose for daring to speak up about the cost of balls though.

funnyperson Sun 17-Feb-13 04:47:10

Its me in the dilemma, as a parent. My lovely child scorns the idea of wanting to go to any other ball than the college one but I think thats because she knows that she and I cant afford it and it makes me feel sad.

BlueyDragon Sun 17-Feb-13 04:50:01

Who's putting you down, OP? I agree they are expensive. Cheaper would be great. But running these things costs money and, like I said, if you can't afford to go to five then you don't go to five. I'd like the entire contents of my nearest Ducati showroom, but I can't afford it so I won't be having it.

I bet the website for the college you/your family member is at looks just as good.

BlueyDragon Sun 17-Feb-13 04:57:23

Congratulations to your DD for getting to Oxford, tis a marvellous place despite the ball costs. She won't lose out by not going to all these balls, honestly she won't. There's much much more to the place than that.

Also if she's in her first year the balls can clash with prelims (unless she's doing law in which case mods are done and next term or year and a half in my case is party season).

It can all feel unfair and that everyone else can afford things you can't, but actually most are in the same boat.

If your DD is looking at the legal profession, PM me and I'll happily help if she's got any questions.

funnyperson Sun 17-Feb-13 05:00:31

Dear Bluey you are right. There are lots of things in life which one would like but cannot necessarily afford or one chooses to do something else with the money. Thanks for answering though, you helped me feel better. I Will pm you if Law is being considered. thanks

BlueyDragon Sun 17-Feb-13 05:09:01

Pleased to have helped! Tell your DD I'm very jealous she's there, I had 3 wonderful years there and made lifelong friends. I have to admit it also opens doors like nowhere else well, except maybe the place in the Fens and a couple of others.

boomting Sun 17-Feb-13 14:02:30

I'm on full student finance, because I'm from a low income family. I'm not at Oxford, but having looked at the bursaries Oxford offers for those from a similar background, they are more than £2000 per year better off than me. Even on my current student finance, I could afford to go to a couple of balls a year at those prices... if I had the Oxford bursary offered, I genuinely could afford to go to the five balls you refer to.

Yes, they are. They are also not compulsory!

Why not go to one of the zillion-and-one alternative parties instead? Or just sit in the park and watch the fireworks with a bottle of cheap plonk instead.

Btw, I live in Oxford and I went to Cambridge, so I've been in one or other place for the best part of ten years, and I have never met or heard of anyone going to 5 balls. I'm sure such people exist but I think you've got the wrong end of the stick if you think that is the norm!

motherinferior Sun 17-Feb-13 15:26:41

I am proud to say that not only did I never attend a single ball, I never knew when Eights Week was eeither.

PatriciaHolm Sun 17-Feb-13 15:28:44

When I was at Oxford, we went to one ball a year - I don't think anyone went to 5!! If your college didn't have one (colleges often ran them every 3 years) you just picked a good one and went on mass. They don't raise a lot of money, even when sponsored.

Helspopje Sun 17-Feb-13 15:35:13

I only ever went to one a year. If nothing else most are in the same week and trying going to them on consecutive nights would be ridiculous!

The 'cheap' way of doing it is to offer to work at one. you do half the ball glass collecting or similar and get a free ticket for the other half. The real ball aficionados (who tended to look like the living dead by the end of May ball week) in my college did this.

ThePavlovianCat Sun 17-Feb-13 15:39:42

Where do you think the money for the balls goes? If they are cheaper then there will be less stuff to do at them and they'll be less fun. Also, most students would go to one or two balls a year max. Your daughter will be studying there for more than one year I assume so she can try different balls different years if she wants.

Listen to your daughter, she's the one at Oxford. Don't try to decide what she wants to do for her. She's the one there, knows what's on offer and what everyone else is doing (which isn't going to 5 balls a year!)

DolomitesDonkey Sun 17-Feb-13 15:51:30

How is this news? I couldn't afford to attend my uni balls in the 90s with all the expenses it entails.

FloatyBeatie Sun 17-Feb-13 15:56:54

I didn't go to a single ball at Oxford. They were an irrelevance. It didn't disadvantage me any more than not being able to eat out in expensive restaurants disadvantaged me. They aren't what Oxford is about for most students.

MoreBeta Sun 17-Feb-13 16:00:55

I was at Oxford and I dont know anyone who went to 5 balls a year. I went to about 3 in total and frankly I dont think it mattered a jot.

I'll go one better, MI, I don't know what eights week is. Rowing? Not the same thing as eighth week (as in, a couple of weeks time).

Now if the OP wanted to campaign for simplifying the jargon I'd be right behind her.

mateysmum Sun 17-Feb-13 16:09:01

Went to 1 ball in 3 years and that was about average I think. 5 in 1 year would be unheard of so I think you are worrying unnecessarily. No way are these rich dancing with the rich or discriminatory - anyone can buy a ticket and many girls get taken there by their boyfriends.

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