On Saturday night, Kinkell Byre sparkled with the lights of the annual May Ball as hundreds of St Andrews students descended upon that lofty hill overlooking our picturesque town. While the time-consuming bus transfers may be irritating and at times disorganised, the ability to leave town for an evening is always welcomed. As the last ball of the academic year and the last general black tie event before the advent of exams, May Ball is a unique occasion that permits the student population to dance off their cares and worries for one last time before returning to haunt the library.
Being one of the last to arrive, the party was in full swing by the time I stepped inside, dinner having been long since served and VIP guests having already indulged in the complimentary Janetta’s ice cream and champagne. Classic ticket holders occupied the main section of Kinkell, with many already hitting the dance floor. The music may have been loud but thankfully not preventative of conversations as is the case at some other balls.
As a professed lover of fashion, I took the chance to survey the vast array of dresses on show, with both full length and short featuring in equal measure. The girls had clearly pulled out all the stops for this final black tie event with stunning dresses from designer and high street labels alike being worn with grace and elegance. An impressive range of colourful and club bow ties was on display alongside classic plain black.
After a while spent socialising, I felt it was time to explore the VIP tent and so proceeded to a beautifully laid out space with chandeliers hung from the roof, another stage with acts such as The Fabulous Hurricanes and FS DJ Joe Jones featuring and the Janetta’s stand tucked away in the corner. Taking a step back to observe, the overriding feature was the smiles on the faces of the guests who were clearly having a thoroughly wonderful time. Dance moves were impressive with one couple swirling around detached from the main throng. I know not who you are but congratulate you on your enthusiasm.
After deciding that my review would not be complete without experiencing the delights of one of the rides, I braved the freezing elements and queued with friends for ‘La Bamba’ on two separate occasions. Thankfully both times, my chivalrous male friends offered me their jackets, something I was extremely grateful for. It is debatable whether or not it was worth the wait in the cold but for certain, the ride itself was immensely enjoyable. The sight of black tie clad students being hurled through the moonlit sky must have made an amusing sight for any bystanders.
Without doubt, St Andrews truly is a matchmaking town, and that is never so evident than at a ball. On the day that a second child was born to famous alumni the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it would seem that many more future matches are in the making. From a couple gently swaying on the dance floor to another perched in front of one of the well-appreciated heaters in a corner, tenderly gazing into each other’s eyes, an air of love pervaded the night. And not just romantic love; the love between the friends we make here at St Andrews is never more evident than at a party, with groups of friends putting all their effort into having the best time possible. The energy and enthusiasm of the guests turned the shell of Kinkell Byre into a palace of revelry, bringing the party season to a conclusive end.
Photos courtesy of LightBox Creative.