It is a universally acknowledged fact in St Andrews that when the semester is finally in full swing it must be time for a ball, enter the Kate Kennedy Club and set the stage for Opening Ball.
I remember the excitement and panic that surrounded my first Opening Ball. What should I wear? What should I expect? Other than my sixth form prom, I had never been to a ball before. What would happen when the clock struck midnight? To avoid keeping you all at the edge of your seat, turns out everyone just keeps dancing. We at Owl Eyes thought we would save all the anxious freshers and curious returning students from the same whirlwind of questions by going straight to the top, to the Ball Convener himself, Tom Higginson.
So what is the story behind the name ‘Opening Ball’?
A ‘fresher welcome’ ball has taken place under various names for some time and around 20 years ago the KK were asked to run the fresher ball in Younger Hall by the university, after the ongoing success of the May Ball. The first ‘Opening Ball’ was roundly praised and since then the club has relocated and evolved the ball into the one we see today. The event celebrates the opening of the year, and for many first years, their St Andrews career.
This is the first ball that many new students in St Andrews will experience, does that come with a certain amount of pressure?
Last year Opening Ball was my favourite event because it crystallised the glamour and mystery that shrouds this town, before the first experience of coursework! The pressure comes from my hope that such a feeling is conveyed to our first year guests.
What is your favourite memory from Opening Ball?
Walking into it. I stood alone under the covered walkway and drank in the surroundings. It was my first taste of these slick events we have all since become accustomed to and it was quite stunning, the level of production and attention to detail. The band weren’t too bad either.
What can we expect this year from the event? Do you have any surprises up your sleeves?
We have booked a superb band for the main stage, labelled as the ‘Future of indie rock’. Jannettas ice cream, popcorn, candy floss, a champagne reception. I even put in a special request for larger cans of Red Stripe due to its current popularity.
The outside DJ tent with TEA and ASQUIRE should also be a highlight.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone attending the Ball for the first time, what would it be?
Don’t go to Blackhorn beforehand – they will be at Opening Ball.
I did it last year and it was a massive mistake.
Hopefully that has cleared up your plethora of questions. In the end, Opening Ball is a rite of passage for any St Andrews student, so press pause on your studies and step away from the library, it’s time to go a-ballin’.