Free ice cream, a champagne reception and a glittering marquee are valid attractions in their own right – yet there is something more to Opening Ball, a union of anticipation and nostalgia that draws first years and returning students back to Lower College Lawn every year. For many freshers, this ball is the first of its kind, a grand black tie event populated exclusively by fellow students. The recent Starfields has proven that St Andrews can host a good party. Opening Ball is an example of the classier side of the town’s nightlife; a subculture of gowns and kilts and cummerbunds.
Ball Convenor Tom Higginson echoes these sentiments. “It’s not your every night, it’s not your regular ball. There is something very special about Opening Ball that has always stuck with me. It’s just very good fun.”
A second year, Higginson’s memories of Opening Ball 2015 are still fresh in his mind. Hoping to modernise the historic event, he has booked the St Andrews-based DJ collective TEA as one of his headlining acts, a move that will attract the crowds who flock to the group’s sold-out events. TEA will occupy the area outside of the marquee, now updated to include proper flooring and lighting. With these improvements, the outside section will become a hotspot for guests to enjoy, rather than a place for marquee overflow.
The marquee itself shall not lack in enticements. Free food will be provided throughout the night, a steady supply of treats slated to include cotton candy, popcorn and Janettas ice cream. An increased focus on production has led to the presence of lasers, a boon for the DJs who will be occupying the main stage. Asquire, S//G and Joe Grimeh have all been confirmed, each performer accompanied by a slew of past experience in DJing large-scale events.
Victor Steiner must also be commended for his assistance in organising the event. Higginson specifically notes his efforts in securing the ice cream booth, among multiple other contributions.
Yet another crucial aspect of the night will be the bar. Following the example of past balls, Higginson has arranged for a square-shaped bar to alleviate time spent waiting for service. Guests can expect cheap prices courtesy of the Union, who will provide Red Stripe and Coors alongside the usual variety of spirits and mixers.
The driving force behind the Ball is the Kate Kennedy Club, whose members can be found serving champagne and assisting in cleanup during and after the night. The Club, founded in 1926, endeavours to preserve the traditions of the town (Opening Ball amongst them) and to raise money for local charities. To this end, money raised by Opening Ball will be donated to this year’s chosen charities of the Club. When the red carpet is rolled out and the ice cream served, it is the KKC that we will have to thank for a wonderful evening.
With minimal queuing and a carefully staggered array of musical acts, ticket-holders are advised to arrive early and stay until late to make the most of the event. Higginson has dedicated his summer and his September to ensuring a quality night, and based on his efforts thus far we can surely prepare ourselves for just that.
Tickets may be purchased through The Union’s website.