[pullquote]This is not your standard St Andrews ball[/pullquote]In the words of an ex-committee member of Xavier Ball, “this is not your standard St Andrews ball; it’s very indie and alternative.” What they didn’t say, and what I’m sure was implied, was that events like this are an acquired taste and not for everyone. Some will like it, while others won’t. For the most part, however, it appeared that the majority of those who attended Xavier Ball were having a splendid time.
Departing from the familiar settings of Kinkell Byre and lower college lawn, both of which are usually decorated with fairy lights and marquees, Crail Airfield was grungy and dim for Xavier Ball. I would say the vibe veered towards a rave, with the glowing bracelets and necklaces donned by everyone, myself included. The journey to Crail was longer than the typical trip to Kinkell, with our bus even having broken down in St Andrews due to technical issues. All irritation that could have been caused by this malfunction was quickly dispelled before it could fester by committee members who handed out additional free drink tokens.
The drinks at the bars were much cheaper than at most St Andrews events (albeit with a smaller variety) and waiting time was very short. What I wished had been more clear was that the free drinks (and chips) could only be redeemed before 11 pm. The Xavier Ball committee managed to get sponsorship from Tunnocks, rather impressively, and Vita Coco was also present in a variety of flavours.
The ball committee had decorated the venue well, adding a dash of colour to the sparse and dull backdrop. Some might say that this lack of colour only add character to the venue, but I disagree: the coloured lights were what livened up the place for me. With a photo booth set up on one side and a bar on the other, and seats spread out throughout the room, the layout was well contrived and easy to manoeuvre.
The two dance floors fluctuated between being completely packed and empty: partygoers were constantly shuffling from one dance floor to the other. The music on offer (though largely unfamiliar to me) was very well-received by those who attended the event. The eclectic mix of Reggae Dub, House, Grime and Hip Hop was surprisingly successful. The smaller of the two dance floors was taken over by student DJs such as Alasdair Todd, Asquire, Joe Grimeh and Malcolm Estacy x Happy Trillmore, while the main stage was for Little Boots.
[pullquote]The ball lived up to its slogan: “be bright”[/pullquote]Having been branded “the brightest night of the year,” Xavier Ball did live up to their slogan: people were wearing an array of different costumes, all of which displayed the very best of St Andrean creativity. There were a handful of people wearing rafiki fabrix in support of the micro-finance project, but many others wore heavily patterned clothes. The gents in particular were very amus- ing to observe, as they mainly wore a pairing of black-tie attire and brightly coloured shorts. As the vice-principal of the University explained: “By wearing the fabrics produced by a Xavier Project start-up, you will know you are supporting people who are helping themselves, whilst also having a fabulously bright evening!”
Ultimately, the mix of an energetic committee, a giant bonfire burning brightly and partygoers dancing like there was no tomorrow, generated an unexpectedly successful event. The ball certainly had its fair share of shortcomings, as almost all St Andrean balls do. Yet in spite of the event’s rocky start and its low attendance, the Xavier Ball committee ultimately pulled through.