May Ball. It’s one of the things along with the KKC, the royals, Raisin and May Dip that the Bubble is best known for. I felt that I couldn’t graduate without having gone to May Ball at least once to see what all the fuss was about. However, I am so not a morning person, so for the past two years I’ve hit snooze on my alarm clock on the day of ticket sales, rolled over and gone back to sleep. This year was different – I’d been offered a shiny (read: fluorescent yellow, impossible to match with anything) press pass, so off I went.
First things first; girls, if you’re in heels or lads, if you can’t be bothered to walk then be sure to book taxis in advance. There was nothing short of a convoy taking revellers from across town to the buses at Younger Hall. At around twenty to nine, the queues for buses were reasonable and moved fast. Wristbands, IDs and bags checked, we were shepherded onto the bus along with what appeared to be a large group of overexcited, first-year Americans, one of whom was very concerned as he’d dropped his £11 cigar.
Kinkell as a venue is both a blessing and a curse. Being used to St Andrews balls and students, it is the place to hold your event. However, the dirt track that leads up to it can only fit one bus at a time, meaning that we were held up on the road for a few minutes. It wasn’t a major deal for us, but I’ve been told that as the night went on buses were actually being held at Younger Hall for unknown reasons, and then stopped again for close to 15 minutes near the venue. I would hazard a guess at this being due to the number of drunken guests that were queuing in the track for the fairground rides.
Speaking of, these rides were fabulous. They really added to the electric atmosphere and were a nice touch of childhood fun. There were three: the Scrambler, La Bamba and of course the dodgems. To add to the fairground setting there was also free candyfloss, a Bison stand selling wings, wraps and chips, and Portaloos outside that, rather than being something to avoid, really helped reduce the (still long) queues for the toilets indoors.
The one downside of this event was that there were queues for everything. La Bamba and the dodgems were particularly bad, but in fairness this was a sell-out ball, with roughly 1800 guests attending.
The majority of party goers were drunk but not wasted, although we did see some people having to be escorted out from nine onwards. Everyone seemed to be having a great time – one student, Steve Owen, said: “The KKC may be pricks, but they know how to throw a good party.” Another explained to me that he’d left St Andrews, being a medic, and actually come back up for May Ball.
I can’t comment too much on the main stage entertainment, as I spent a lot of time at the other attractions, but I did catch the opening of Mylo’s set. Starting with Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’, he continued with his classic dance music style. There was also a casino, though I seemed to have missed this entirely.
Credit where it’s due, this was a great night. Slick and well organised, it was obvious that this is an annual institution in St Andrews and that the KKC know exactly what they are doing. I just wonder whether next year they could maybe branch out a bit more and breathe some fresh life into this admittedly already spectacular ball.
Should you go next year? Yes – you should go at least once in your time in the Bubble.
Dinner, VIP or Classic? VIP – entirely different party.
Arrive fashionably late? No – more time to spend on attractions and less time queuing!
Dress code? Dress to impress – kilts/bowties and heels please!
All photos: Sammi McKee