May Ball 2016: The VIP debate

After being around for 90 years, the Kate Kennedy Club is expected to know how to throw a solid event, and they did not disappoint.  May Ball has always been an institutional ball that freshers and graduating students always enjoy.  From the classic fair rides to great music, May Ball delivered their standard ball on a silver platter.  Unlike years previous, people did not have to queue from the wee hours in the morning to grab a coveted ticket, making the whole process all the more enjoyable.  As per usual, there were three types of tickets, but the main question is: is it worth that extra few pounds to get some of the perks?

One of the main things that differentiates May Ball from any other ball is its fair-style rides outside of the all time favorite venue, Kinkell Byre. The VIP ticket promises early entry to the rides, a champagne reception, and access to the VIP tent.  The committee was attentive right from the beginning.  Upon arrival, everyone was welcomed to the music of a live band and a glass of champagne individually handed out by a member of the committee. Unfortunately, however, neither the VIP section nor 2/3 of the rides were open upon the first bus’s arrival.  In fact, the VIP section was not available until after the first standard bus time, as it was going through a transition from dinner tables to dance floor. Security also stipulated that the two additional rides would not be operating until after all of the buses arrived.  What made matters worse was the fact that the rides also closed at 1 AM, dashing the hopes of many who wanted to bump into each other in cars.  Due to these mishaps, it is hard to argue that a VIP ticket is worth it if you cannot actually access the VIP perks upon the early bus’s arrival; however, it did ensure that the main areas were full of people, making the large venue feel less empty.  Although it is understandable that the turnover from the dinner might take awhile, it is a bit bizarre that people are paying for something that they could not receive immediately.

As we are all aware, lines are always an issue at any event, but this time it was less so. There were porta potties outside in addition to the usual toilets.  The staff were very efficient yet attentive throughout the whole process.  The lines for the buses both to and from the ball were not a madhouse like some of the events earlier this year.  The KKC would even point you the way to the cloakroom, which had two entrances for easy access and convenience.  The overall experience was much more pleasant than some of this year’s events.

For those lucky VIPs, there was a candy table,  Janetta’s and POPS’ champagne and bellini popsicles. The view of the Castle Course and the town was absolutely gorgeous, but one of the best benefits was the extra space and seating area. If you were looking for those classic sing-along songs to dance to, you wanted to be in the VIP tent.  People were constantly dancing to the beat of the songs and singing the lyrics at the top of their lungs.  You might think that the VIP tent would be empty at times, but there was always a stream of people coming in and out until closing at 2 AM.  Although there was an extra bar that took up the whole side of the tent, there was still an immense amount of shoving and queuing.  In many ways, it was almost easier to grab a drink at the normal bars than it was in VIP.  The main bars were well staffed, and there were no more than 2 rows of people at any one time.

For anyone who is a fan of house music, Ben Pearce did not disappoint in the heart of Kinkell.  One of the highlights of his set was when he played part of Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” playing tribute to a highly respected and loved legend.  While the music was on point, the visual aspects of it were even better, as the lighting helped to enhance the ambiance and overall mood.  Unlike years prior, it seemed as though the DJs were hiding in the background, making it more difficult for them to engage with the dancers.

So, is May Ball worth that extra cash? It really depends on what you want out of a ball. If you want more places to explore, a more intimate dance floor, or more places to sit, definitely consider the VIP ticket. If you just want to dance and hear the main acts, stick with standard.  Either way, you can’t go wrong with St Andrews’ staple end of year ball, as it fully embodies St Andrews’ love for a good old black tie event.

Photos courtesy of Lightbox Creative.