Only St Andrews would come up with a Ball the prime focus of which is to turn up in wellington boots. Hosted at Kinkell Byre and involving a lavish three-course meal (which, I am reliably informed, was well-stocked with wine) and an After Party that goes until 2am, all in the name of the Royal Highland Education Trust (find out more here), it is a well-known fixture on the University social calendar. It was my first time to the party this year, and I feel I may have missed a trick having not been in previous years.
Kinkell as always was beautifully bedecked with fairy lights, and the wide stage at the front framed the room like a concert hall. The band played a mixture of classics and current hits, focusing on the crowd-pleasing type of pop-rock which stretched all the way from The Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys with a frontman who knew how to play to his audience and a man who looked about as lithe as the bass guitar he dexterously caressed. Dancing in wellies might seem like an opportunity to lose a few teeth, but, besides the odd one or two, the mass of people on the dance-floor managed remarkably well in keeping themselves upright and ambulatory. The DJ thereafter was fully loaded on club tunes, just the kind of thing to keep the inebriated swaying till the early hours.
Drinks were surprisingly cheap; I kept myself content with £2.50 rum and cokes all night, and the beer and wine was only slightly more expensive at £3, which probably comes in as some of the cheapest booze I’ve ever had at a black tie event. Food was available in the form of Butler’s wraps and takeaway pizza, meaning that you could end your night in the dirtiest or classiest way possible (and that wasn’t just the food).
But there was something incredibly elated about the atmosphere; no less than four people came up to me and said how well they thought the Ball was going. Mulling around in a bow tie sipping cheap drinks and chatting with friends isn’t nearly the worst way to spend a Saturday night, and in fact it was one of the best I’d had for a while. Standard problems took hold after midnight in the generic nature of the music (there’s club music, and then there’s dance music) and the fact that half of the room was drunk enough to be heading home arm in arm whilst the other half filtered out gradually as the night slowly descended from its high watermark.
But this happens with most of these types of things, and the fact that I was still having fun even then is testament to the strength of the event. At £15 for an After Party ticket I’m not sure why I didn’t try Welly Ball sooner, it’s certainly a nice shake-up at a time of year when deadlines may be looming like a horrendous cloud and you’re mid-way between madness and exhaustion (well I am at least, my dissertation’s due the end of the month). Didn’t manage to catch Welly Ball this time round? I urge you to check it out next year. Dancing drunk in farming footwear has never been so much fun.
Image Credits: Stuart McMillan