Picture this: You finally arrive at the entrance of The Opening Ball after a full hard-core hour of pre-ing at your mate’s flat. You’re slightly tipsy. You’re greeted with a complimentary glass of wine by a plethora of men in kilts. You’re slightly tipsier. The evening is cold. The fairy lights from the main tent are twinkling, your heels are making your feet throb already and it hasn’t even been 10 minutes yet…
For many, this was their introduction to Opening Ball 2018. The evening commenced with a gathering inside the main tent. The décor was breath-taking, it gave the night a pleasant ambience. The lighting was ethereal and the soft colour scheme was lovely to look at. There were a limited number of freebies being offered: one ice cream cone each, one ration of popcorn each and one stick of candy floss each. This was a decent attempt at soothing the unanimous pain of spending £40 on a ticket but unfortunately, these offerings were just not enough.
However, there was a crepe stand and a pizza stand outside of the main tent to further sate any hunger felt by the attendees. Both stands were heroically manned by only a couple of people, but the large crowds that surrounded them made it very difficult to satiate any sort of appetite formed. Plus, waiting in line for 45 minutes in the freezing cold in a £30 Missguided dress isn’t some people’s idea of fun. That meant that if you listened carefully enough, a lot of rumbling stomachs could be heard over the booming music.
Initially, the music was supplied by Bpm, a DJ-ing set that mainly plays Hip Hop, Afrobeats and RnB music. The vibrancy and the vividness of the music played could’ve teased out a light head bop from even the most frigid of attendees. The likes of Drake, Cardi B, Rihanna and even Ashanti played for the enjoyment of everyone there. At first, the dancefloor was a barren wasteland, completely empty, with only the bravest of us having a cheeky 2-minute boogie there before retreating back to the safety and security of the massive crowds. Eventually, more and more people budded off to the dancefloor and it soon became packed to the brim. The music played during the set varied from current hits to old school classics. The music was mixed in such a way where there were no lulls or abrupt stops during the whole set, giving everything a certain flow and fluidity.
After a while, the bopping turned into side-stepping and the side-stepping turned into an awkward little pseudo-rhythmic shake. The dancefloor was extremely packed, packed to the point where any sort of movement became extremely limited and even precarious at times. The air was thick, stuffy, and hot. The Bpm set soon finished and Ryzy took over. There was a switch up from Hip Hop to House. This switch up was a welcome one too. The music was loud and heavy and almost everyone got into it. Really, really into it. While fun was had, it was only a matter of time until a retreat to the outside world was overdue.
Bpm continued their set in another tent, the energy was infectious and electrifying. Everyone there had a blast, the music rocked the scene. Soon, more heels were off and more trainers were worn. The crowd however, noticeably dwindled by the eighth Drake song and soon it became evident that the night was already over. The whole venue felt claustrophobic and that initial high energy subsided. The music inside of the main tent was quite lacklustre and boredom started rearing its ugly head in. 50% of the food stands had closed by then and I soon realised that a handful of popcorn and a stick of candle floss couldn’t really sustain you for a whole night.
All in all, Opening Ball was like a mouth-full of candyfloss. It was sweet while it lasted, but it’s appeal disappeared very quickly.