What other way to start of Freshers’ Week than with an event that everyone could get involved in? Instead of the somewhat predictable pattern events run by the Union that are aimed at freshers, it was refreshing to be able to attend an event that had only a good time in mind, as well as it being for a charitable cause.
In the tiny St Andrews’ bubble world where events just can’t stand alone, it’s important that any surrounding events – such as launch parties and after parties – are exciting and enjoyable by themselves, not just as an accessory to the main ball itself. The Welly Ball team did a remarkable job of making sure that this launch wasn’t just an add-on for the sake of publicity. Instead, the committee made the launch a memorable part of Freshers’ Week 2019. Of course, being able to introduce the ball for 2019 as one of St Andrews’ most stand out events, they already had the upper hand. Where else would formal dresses and tuxes be paired with wellies boots?
The ball itself, usually held midway through Semester 1, consists of a dinner (balloted into tables by the committee in advance of the event) followed by an after party. It’s in aid of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT), a charity which trains professionals to spot depression in order to ensure that people get the help they need, as well as raising awareness of mental health in schools and universities, in memory of Charlie Waller. Last year, Welly Ball raised a whopping £23,000 for CWMT – so the event is definitely worthwhile.
The launch has set expectations high for the event itself, with the music standing out as one of the highlights of the evening. The Vic is renowned to feature some of the best evenings for DJs, and the Welly Ball launch was no different, including a variety of student DJs to encompass a range of different music genres. Co-directors Kate Russell and Cate Crossland worked hard with their team over the summer to ensure the event ran smoothly, especially with it being only a few days after most people’s return to St Andrews and thus leaving planning to group chats spanning several continents.
To their credit, the evening was a huge success. Both co-directors commented on the amount of fun everyone was having being a strong indicator as to how well the event went for them and their team, as well as the sheer number of people both interested prior and in attendance at The Vic on Monday night.
Whilst it was great that the event was so popular, it did mean that for many, some of the evening was spent in a queue. By 10:30pm, there was a full crowd of people waiting to get in, and by just after 11:30pm, the event was at full capacity. This wasn’t helped by tickets only being available on the door, but at only £5, it was worth the wait.
The Welly Ball launch has definitely set the bar for all future launches for this academic year, as well as just giving us a teaser of what to expect for the main ball itself. Keep an eye out for tickets and the dinner ballot as they’re likely to go fast!