Guests were ushered through Sallies Quad which – although still under reconstruction – looked beautiful and really quite eerie under the blue lighting that has been glowing every night recently. There was a piper in full regalia – an element that I, as a firm south-Englander, has always loved. However, rather disappointingly, he wasn’t playing when I arrived as he was juggling the attention of three screaming American Freshers, each demanding a selfie. Let the man play. Although, I suppose many would have been running through with fingers in their ears, anyway, so – for some – his silence would have been a blessing in disguise.
On arriving in the marquee, I was transported with a sense of déja vu to my early Fresher days as the setup was almost identical to Opening Ball, down to the fairy light canopy. However, the old truism don’t fix what isn’t broken rang true this time, and the typical champagne reception was, of course, a real treat. The service was friendly, but firm, which really is a necessity at a free alcohol bar in a student-filled tent.
With a flute of bubbly in one hand and the arm of my friend in the other, I was immediately dragged to dance to the dulcet tones of Mr Leon O’Rourke, one of the Union SABBS and a nice local addition to the sequence of strong DJs and musical entertainment that carried on for the rest of the night: from a brilliant jazz band to Kalliope, DJ Gentleman Jonny and SAUNIT. I was swayed into the dance floor repeatedly and actually found myself having a good time.
Most importantly, let’s talk about the free stuff. From an army of free glasses of champagne, to complimentary cake and meringues from Cottage Kitchen, to candyfloss, Vodka luges and the incredibly popular Desperados table, people certainly got their money’s worth. Obviously, the queues for many of these (ahem Desperados) was astronomical and quite terrifyingly staffed by security, but they were there.
The decor and theme was one significant detraction of an otherwise brilliant event. Aside from the photographs of St Andrews dangling on one of the walls, it seemed to me that there was a real lack of actual exploration of St Andrews as a theme. As a party The St Andrews Ball was great fun, but the possibility for creativity with the theme and occasion was disappointingly lacking.
Aside from this one complaint, however, The St Andrews Ball was a lovely night filled with goodies, music and well-organised staff. The three bars felt somewhat unnecessary given the larger space with relatively fewer people, but it did mean that waiting for drinks was absolutely not a problem. The scattering of sofas and the inclusion of Mexigo and Cottage Kitchen gave those in too high heels (woops!) a much-needed respite from the dance floor. I had a great night, and it looked like everyone else did too. And, to top everything off, I love events on Lower College Lawn – Empire is so much closer! Thank you, Fellowship!