Camelot Excalibur has been around for a long time (this year it celebrates its 11th lustrum) and it is still very small. The fraternity, which is independent of any study program or association – the only requirement being that you are a TU/e student of the male sex – has accumulated a total of 88 former members in those 55 years and currently has ten active members. Three of them tell Cursor everything about what goes into planning a well-organized party.
Tommie Kerssies (Data Science) has slightly more Kingsnight experience than Wouter Brans (Mechanical Engineering) and Jasper de Bruin (Sustainable Innovation). He lists the key features of their party: “It’s still light outside when it starts, we serve dinner, it is so close to the station that you can hop on the train if you want to go home and you can go to bed early so that you’ll be able to fully enjoy the King’s Day celebrations. That makes it a very suitable pre-party.” Many of the 550 guests are from outside Eindhoven. Among them are also the parents of the organizers.
In the mid-80s, Camelot first organized a house party to celebrate the Queen’s birthday at Høs Burcht on Fuutlaan. This house in the Eindhoven villa district is distinguished by its purple façade decorated with battlements and is home to seven members. “Initially, the party was held at night, but the local residents didn’t appreciate the noise”, says Wouter. “That’s when we decided to turn it into a pre-party, which is held from 4pm to 11pm.”
By hearsay, the three have learned the following about Camelot Kingsnight: “The biggest party at Høs was in 2014, when 400 people attended. The neighborhood complained about the size of the crowd, as people were partying outside on the street as well. After that, the number of partygoers was scaled back to 360. The last house party was broken off after one hour because the local residents had complained to the fire department that there were too few emergency escape routes. All the guests then headed for the Ballenbak, the student bar of the Eindhovens Studenten Corps, where they made the highest turnover ever.
From then on, they started hiring external locations; the gentlemen fondly mention the Evoluon in 2017. In 2018, Tommie joined the party committee during his hazing period. As chairman, he was in the middle of preparations for Kingsnight 2020 when Covid-19 rudely put a stop to his work. However, the urge to organize a party remained and now, finally, the time has come. “We can’t wait.” Wouter and Jasper also consider it a wonderful challenge. Their web page is counting down the seconds as we speak.
Organizing this event is a daunting task. Funds are needed if they want to offer unlimited drinking at the lowest possible price (a ticket costs 19.50 euros). Wouter has learned how to sell this kind of party to sponsors. “It’s more effective to talk passionately about our party than to approach things in a too business-like way. I have to figure out what we can bring to the company in question”, he says.
In order to provide a meal for everyone, we have to boil 35 kilos of potatoes and sauerkraut. “We use two gigantic pans for that and a concrete drill for the mashing.” The venue has to agree that they have their own beer contract for 50 barrels of Grolsch and they have to ensure that there is a security guard for every 100 people.
The men wholeheartedly confirm that they are going to put the organization of the party on their CVs. Jasper: “I really learned how to supervise the project and how nice it is to have a very clear structure to work with. If you really want to achieve something big, you need that”. Tommie has mastered new management skills. “That’s not something I learn in practice during my Data Science studies. Now, as chairman, I’m responsible for everyone’s actions. I’m not a born manager, so I’ve learned a lot from this experience.”
The tickets are sold out, but a reserve list has been drawn up.