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Expectations for the annual Christmas Ball were as high as they come; in the buildup to the night, a flurry of eager, potential guests scrambled to get their hands on much-coveted tickets. Luckily, with my own press pass secured, the thought of getting free ice cream and a complimentary cava – combined with the festive joy of the ball – made me very excited to attend.

What impressed me most of all was how Christmas Ball 2014’s organisers managed to get people to queue so much. Whether it was queuing in their infamous ticket sales, queuing to pick up wristbands, queuing to get drinks at the bar (I’d much rather the Union Bar sorted out staffing numbers before meticulously choosing their Christmas jumpers, for the record), or queuing  to use the bathroom, St Andrews had no doubt been enchanted. It’s most worrisome that I cannot actually figure out why – but, regardless of the cause, the conveners did an absolutely superb job of creating May Ball levels of hype.

 

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Front of House and general decorations were done superbly. There were also enough areas and marquees to make getting lost and separated from friends a whole lot easier, which is a certainly a rarity at Kinkell. The venue was super-warm, which was excellent – but made the transition to the smoking area reminiscent of stepping into Narnia itself: a truly chilling experience! The music was a mixed bag, and I only really started to enjoy myself when Ashton Squires (Asquire) started his set; a longer set time from him really wouldn’t have gone amiss. However, the relaxed opening acts definitely did give guests the opportunity to explore and get a feel for their surroundings, which was very useful as there was undoubtedly a lot to be appreciated.

 

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Food was overall very good and had great diversity. However, things sold out relatively quickly; I’m not quite sure how I was convinced to purchase a toastie which consisted purely of sliced tomatoes and onions – an acquired delicacy indeed. Apart from this, the quality of food was excellent. Making the barn space into a Christmas themed market was a great idea and an exciting feature of the ball; however, as mentioned previously, I personally found my experience at the bar to be lacking. The free cava upon arrival did not compensate for the unholy lengths of time spent queuing.

 

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Despite some grievances, though, Christmas Ball 2014 was a great evening, and I definitely recommend trying to get tickets to the next one. I absolutely adored Christmas Ball 2013 – the 10th annual ball – and I’m probably trying to draw parallels to it. Mermaids’ Christmas Ball really continues to be an excellent evening that I wouldn’t want to miss. In true festive cheer, it was once again the ribbon on the present which tied semester one up perfectly.

 

 

Jonathan Gibb

 

Photography courtesy of Lightbox Creative St Andrews