When Mermaids announced the ticket release time to be on the 14th of November at 1:30 pm, it certainly felt like most of St Andrews mobilised to secure the elusive tickets to the university’s last ball of the semester. In the Gateway building, groups of friends sat in a circle, multiple browsers open to the Union website, fingers poised over the refresh tab. I could hear people exclaiming to each other “did you get through, did you get through?!” Needless to say, the site crashed almost immediately and tickets sold out in minutes.
Now that, ladies and gents, is the definition of what the kids call “hype.” The problem with hype is whenever it is established, the question always remains as to whether or not an event was worth said hype. This is particularly relevant given that tickets to this year’s Christmas Ball were being resold at prices way above face value, even around three digits.
Christmas Ball is the last ball of the semester and a sort of last hurray before everyone presumably hunkers down to prepare for finals. This year the theme was “Through the Looking Glass” as the Mermaids attempted to transform Kinkell Byre into the mysterious wonderland that Alice stumbles upon (or falls into, if we’re being precise). Frankly, they did this well.
Walking into Kinkell Byre, the effort put into the details and decorations of this event was evident. The light-covered trees lining the walls really made me feel like I was in some sort of enchanted forest and the cocktails, donned with Alice in Wonderland inspired names, were a fun touch. Before 10 pm, people could have their picture taken with the Red Queen in the Grotto, fully decked out (pun intended) to remind us of the scene where Alice meets the Card Guards.
Further congratulations are in order for the careful way the layout of the event was planned. Seating, a sought after commodity in any event that requires heels, was readily available. Anyone could sit, stand, talk or dance at their leisure without getting in the way of anyone else. Two areas were also carefully split to accommodate those who would rather dance and those who wanted to chill out to Christmas music. I will say, however, that a little more creativity could have been put into the music selection on the dance floor- we’ve had some incredible music sets this semester at Kinkell Byre, and the over-abundance of chart music seemed a little lackluster in comparison.
It was overall a well-done, tasteful event; rather calm when compared to other Kinkell Byre events. With the recent conversation about how ethical (or not) reselling tickets at exorbitant prices is, I appreciate the Mermaids appeal to only resell tickets at face-value- a classy principle for a rather classy ball. While I wouldn’t pay 150 pounds (and the committee does not suggest that you do) I’m happy to have been able to add this sparkly red wristband to my collection, and recommend that everyone be able to experience the little bit of end of semester magic before finals at least once. If you can get a ticket, that is.