Tara Atkins reviews this year’s Masquerade

Press pass in hand, I was greeted at the entrance to this year’s Masquerade by well-dressed gentlemen in tuxedos and beautifully ornate Venetian masks. The flames of tea lights danced within their jars lining the paths surrounding the old tree, which has for so long been the centrepiece of St Mary’s Quad. Quirky, mismatched sofas were scattered across the lawn near the marquee, from which lively jazz music could be heard. The evening’s festivities were already shaping up to be a night to remember.

Arriving guests were definitely dressing up to the theme. Beautiful maxi dresses swept along the grass, perfectly fitted cocktail dresses were awash with vibrant colour, jewels glistened from necks and wrists, and lavish, gilded masks graced the faces of excited students. Some were clearly homemade, but still charming, whilst others were clearly from the canals of Venice. I was amazed at how this simple piece of fashion could transform an entire event from just another St Andrews ball to the sell-out affair it has become.

In true St Andrews fashion the men were just as elegantly dressed, if not more so, than the women. Masks were coordinated with bow ties and shirts, suits were of the finest cuts and newly polished wing tips caught my attention on the dance floor.

Taking a turn about the room, I was thrilled to see how people were enjoying the added details of Masquerade from the moment they arrived. People we clutching bags of gourmet popcorn coming in splendid flavours, as well as drinks generously provided by the sponsors. The jazz band was in full swing, adding an extra 1920s vibe, some were already dancing, whereas others chose to perch on pillows beside the decorated tree under the awning. By the time the headline act, The Correspondents, graced the stage everyone was on their feet, spinning around and pulling floor-length dresses above their ankles so they could dance the night away.

Other great additions to the evening were the shisha lounge and La Favourita pizza trailer. Despite the shisha taking a while to set up, it was a great place to unwind for second and still enjoy the music from the marquee. Considering the number of people actually wanting a shot of the shisha it was very well run. However, the “you can sit here until you feel guilty about making other people wait” rule about seating was probably the wrong attitude to adopt, since some people obviously didn’t mind making others wait 30 minutes.

All in all, Masquerade was a huge success both for the charity and the organisers. I could easily tell that everyone enjoyed the evening and I think we all look forward to see what the committee do next year!



Tara Atkins 

Images – Spencer Summers