It is fair to say that, after the Pablo-propelled, Hodor-honouring, toastie-triumph of the past few weeks, the students of St Andrews could be forgiven for thinking that excitement must give way to essays. At this stage, it may feel that the shining lights of Starfields will be replaced with the twinkling of an overworked snooze button – a button that is only given a break as we move to seek better wifi for season two of Narcos.
This kind of assumption seems to me far too grim for the UK’s most satisfied student body. Thankfully, the early morning lectures and coursework bring with them their own rewards, with one of these being the highly anticipated St Andrews Masquerade Ball.
So, what do we expect when we hear the words “Masquerade Ball”? As well as the insightful comment of one of my hall friends, who keenly described it as “the one with the masks,” a Masquerade Ball also carries with it a sense of excitement and, indeed, mystery. However, it is a style of ball that has been done time and time again and, despite its proven track record, we have to wonder: What is being done to blow off the cobwebs?
It is lucky then that the most enthralling feature of this event comes from the committee’s effort to make their own mark on this particular theme. Seeing as the idea of Masquerade originated in a world of extravagant carnivals, it is only right that the committee have chosen to base the ball in line with the greatest carnival continent in the world: Latin America. Head of Marketing Kata Vass was eager to comment on the Latin nature of the event, saying: “There are lots of multicultural events in St Andrews that highlight and celebrate how diverse our student population is, but Masquerade Ball is one of the first to highlight Latin flair on this scale.”
Having been to South America, I can tell you that even a hint of the energy encapsulated by that continent will set Snapchat stories blaring more wildly than a Louisiana Trump Rally. With this in mind, expect to be brought back to the overwhelming sensual spectacle that so many of us fell in love with over the Summer Rio Olympic games. I am told that the music, food, and layout of the ball will all mirror one of the most flamboyant party cultures in the world, right here in St Andrews.
But this raises a question in itself: where will the event be held? On Lower College Lawn, like Starfields? At Kinkell Byre? All the usual options seem too choked to create the exotic atmosphere promised by this variety of ball. Yet, in facing this problem the ball committee have taken the initiative to be, as Kata says, “the first organisation outside of hall committees to recognise the potential of North Haugh as a ball venue.” So forget the typical ball locations of the past because, with its secluded location far away from the usual distractions of town (including those uncomfortably close deadlines), the St Andrews Masquerade Ball offers the perfect setting to appreciate the magical nature of the event.
Imagine yourself, if you will, far from the sticky floors of the Lizard and the daunting prospect of yet another Carling in the Union. You are now standing beside the North Haugh pond, looking across the water, cocktail in hand, as the resounding beat of Latin tunes echoes behind you in the marquee. Like I’ve been trying to say: it’s not your standard night.
Another bonus of the location reveals itself when you consider how it feels to walk home from a ball in the early hours. Not only does one need to contend with the wind and the rain, but one is also encumbered by a traffic cone, a growing sense of nausea, and a best friend who “definitely could have swam to Norway if you’d only let them try.”
This is a prospect that often leaves the students of DRA, ABH, Melville and the Bridge Street area fearful of either a long walk home or an expensive taxi ride. This night, however, everyone will share in the luxury of a short stroll rather than a sobering trek. Rest assured that by the morning after, you’ll be glad that you only have a small walk home.
Ball Convenor Taylor Almeraz has poured her time into crafting a unique experience for a new year on the hallowed turf of St Andrews. You may not recall much of Freshers’ Week, but if you are looking for something worth remembering, then grab your mask, stop scrolling down your newsfeed, and head to what is set to be one of the best events of the year.