Despite the recent backlash against Opening Ball, with many noting its lack of originality in the past, a surprisingly large number of people attended Saturday’s event. For hours the ball was bustling. It had a modern and interactive layout: the lawn had an unspoken split into different social environments, each area offering a different atmosphere. People flowed in and out of two tents, each of which offered different dancing scenes, as well as an outdoor area for snacks, drinks and talking.
[pullquote] The entertainment though, affordable as it may have been, was scattered and unorganized.[/pullquote]The larger central tent probably presented the most problems in terms of the event’s success. The bar area inside was overly lit in contrast to the dark dance-floor at the opposite end of the space. Additionally, as subtly warned by the Kate Kennedy event planners, less money was spent on entertainment this year; understandably this was done to increase their profits for charity. However the entertainment, affordable as it may have been, was scattered and unorganised. An odd music group was hired whose front-man awkwardly incorporated personal raps into the radio pop and house music that the group’s DJ played. Aside from the rapping host, a fabulous saxophonist was sporadically called up to perform a solos. This entertainment group seemed to have a lot of creative ideas, but they have yet to find a way to smoothly present them all.
The smaller tent was what really made the night successful. Despite its lack of flooring and all the tumbling high-heel-wearing women, this area seemed to immediately house the third and fourth year attendees (until the end of the night when everyone realized it was the best spot). There was an incredible energy fueled by two minute excerpts of all the best throwbacks; sing-along hits like Kanye’s Gold Digger, Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean and Alicia Key’s New York. [pullquote]There was an incredible energy fueled by two minute excerpts of all the best throwback, sing-along hits.[/pullquote]
Apart from the tents, an obvious effort was made to make the night modern and exciting. A food truck served Jannetta’s ice cream and cotton candy and the night’s beautiful, crisp weather allowed for outdoor cocktail tables with high standing white plastic seats next to torch-like heaters – a hit among couples and friends stealing away for some time off their feet.
Ultimately, the night offered a modern twist to a traditional ball. Future Kate Kennedy charity events should take into account the success of their smaller tent idea and consider ditching the live show and instead use last night’s spectacular playlist. Although not perfect, the elegant and well organised Kate Kennedy Opening Ball was certainly no disappointment.