A musical vision of animal onesies, suits with colourful bowties and face paint.


Last Friday, the students of St Andrews gathered in their masses at Crail Airfield to dance to fantastic music from the Zambula band in a collage of suits, dresses and onesies. I am in my fourth year, so I have been able to collect quite a few memories from St Andrews events, but my first year at Bongo Ball is definitely one that I will remember – I mean, it’s the only one where The Lion King was being played on repeat against the wall -and who could find a problem with that?


The only thing that fellow Bongoers and I had a problem with was the run-up to the ball itself: the slightly awkward organization behind the busses, and who would go on which one. We understand it’s a long trip to Crail and a lot of people to organize who, when it comes to the night itself, will not be the easiest of drunk people to shepherd about -some of whom will be in heels- but you also can’t expect friendship groups to have coordinated themselves around the alphabet and each other’s last names.


However, I found that the problem was avoided on the night by having pre-drinks, though not as early as the bus plan would have required, and painting our faces to really get into the character of the animal we were wearing. Amongst us was a leopard, a zebra, a lion and a couple of butterflies. Of course, the painting was done by our most sober and talented artist! And as to what was waiting for us at the Ball, it was no hardship, and I guarantee that no matter how you got to the ball, you definitely got more than your money’s worth!


The DJ, Get Free, had the crowd dancing to great music, the drinks were cheap – £1.50 for a single mixer! – and, like I said, who could not enjoy Simba, Timon and Pumba dancing and singing in the jungle all night?


The first things I noticed, however, were the huge bonfire right outside, the shisha tent and the sound of the disco tent. This was slightly lighter than the main dance floor, but just as beat-happy, and the bar was well stocked and just as well priced. The long queue by the Buffalo Food Truck made the cold Scottish weather, typical of any October night, all worth it – I would thoroughly recommend that it makes another appearance at the next St Andrews event! (The vouchers that gave us free food were also a huge hit) and I don’t think the people serving the food ever had a moment’s rest throughout the evening.


After the Zambula band, the final act was Alex Bryson who brought out some fantastic tunes that had every animal dancing until it was all over, my fellow fourth years and I included!


The Bongo Committee’s aim was to raise £10,000 for the Xavier Project, and the fact that they have almost reached their goal just shows how much of a success Bongo Ball was. Any committee member that I have come across says they had just as much fun as the rest of us, and I am happy to say that this event is the one for anyone who likes great music, cheap drinks and owns an animal onesie -and let’s by honest, who doesn’t tick at least one of these boxes?


Phoebe Harley


Photography by Phoebe Harley