Drawing on the success of the 600th Ball last year, the Fellowship of St Andrews have proved themselves to be formidable event convenors. But last night was just the beginning! In addition to providing a night of merriment, the ball makes possible an entire weekend of completely free events that celebrate the Bubble and everyone in it. If last year was any indication, they are definitely not to be missed!
Having flown into Dundee from London, conveniently an hour before the ball was due to start, I hastily and rather unfashionably made my over to Lower College Lawn. After being greeted by a bagpiper and a complimentary glass of champagne (the latter should be a fundamental feature of any ball), I knew that the Fellowship really meant business. Clearly, a great deal of effort and teamwork went into planning what turned out to be an elegant and wildly fun evening, one which we daresay met the approval of Scotland’s patron saint.
After a slightly slow start, things picked up around ten o’clock. On the plus side for all of us early birds, there were enough free sponsored goods to fill our stockings in preparation for Christmas (…or alternatively to engorge to your heart’s content on candy floss). There were also free cakes, brownies, and meringues from the lovely folks at Cottage Kitchen. On the subject of sponsorship, the committee secured generous amounts of free alcohol for guests in the form of Desperados. Even more impressive was their ability to keep sponsors as local as possible, tying in very well with the Fellowship’s commitment to fostering town-and-gown relations.
There were several bars to choose from which successfully kept queuing to a bare minimum. Decorations, however, were rather sketchy and the seating was most definitely rather rustic and lacking the charm. However, you shouldn’t be going to be a ball to sit down for the entire evening! I highly doubt there was anyone guilty of doing this though, because the music was genuinely superb. Kalliope (Staley Sharples) was, as always, a defining musical feature and demonstrated an ability to get guests moving onwards to the dance floor en masse. Which was just in time for the headline act, DJ Gentleman Jonny, to begin his set. One thing which struck me, out of everything, was the slickness of the evening; there were no visible blips, no noticeable hiccups, and everything was timed to perfection. Rarely can this be said and was honestly amazing to watch the unfolding of such a well-planned evening.
Pat Mathewson, president of the Students Association and member of the Fellowship, summarised it well: “This was an absolutely brilliant night to kick off a weekend that will showcase our shared community at its best.”
With a busy weekend lined up, I have no reservations that the Fellowship will be able to transfer the festivities of last night into a memorable occasion, which will hopefully solidify their plans to make a lasting impact that contributes to the heritage of the town.