Between Sinners, Boddika, and SAS night at Ma Bells, it’s not been a good week to be a sober, nonathletic techno critic. Opening Ball provided a welcome opportunity for students from all walks of life to band together for a night of revelry, dancing, and free food. As the culmination of a crowded week and the launch of this year’s ball circuit, the evening had a healthy amount of expectations placed upon its time-honoured shoulders. For once, I believe these expectations were met: Opening Ball was outstanding.
Let me elaborate. A jaded second year, I’ve been to more balls than I can count. At this point, they blur together, with nights at Lower College Lawn or Kinkell Byre differentiated only by the name of the photo album on Facebook. Christmas Ball, May Ball, Advent Ball, Big Top Ball, DRA Ball… An endless array of black tie events that become, ultimately, vague memories of queueing and dancing and somehow stumbling home. It is with happy surprise that I can describe this year’s Opening Ball as a wonderfully executed and distinctly memorable triumph.
With just about 1300 tickets sold, I braced myself for the brutal mob that had accompanied Starfields. This disorganised horde, however, never materialised. Lower College Lawn’s layout for the night somehow managed to distribute the partygoers relatively evenly, preventing them from congregating in a single packed location. Fans of the Ma Bells dancefloor made their way to a small outside tent for house music, their own bar, and close-quarter dancing. Those partial to a more traditional ball vibe were free to roam the darker half of the main marquee, where DJs and live musicians took the stage.
The other side of the marquee offered inordinate supplies of free popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream for people to munch on as they waited in the bar queues, where they were served with rapid efficiency by the Union’s staff. It was a simple layout, but it worked flawlessly. Honestly, the biggest problem I had with it was that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself.
Opening Ball can be considered one of those rare events where people (i.e. keen, inexperienced first years) tend to show up on time. As a result, by midnight the venue became surprisingly empty as the early arrivers cleared out for the Vic, Union, or Ma Bells. This benefited the few hundred of us who remained behind, as we saw second helpings of popcorn and a reduction in the already-sparse queues. Unfortunately, the main marquee proved to be a rather dismal sight as barely a dozen people wandered throughout the large, empty space. A smattering of furniture, similar to the design of last year’s St Andrews Ball, could have disguised the suddenly hollow appearance of the venue.
Beyond that final quibble, it’s hard to see where Ball Convenor Fernando Maluf could have improved. He handled his first major event with remarkable ease, thanks in equal part to his own organisational skills and to the aid of Cyrus Danesh, convenor of last year’s sensational Opening Ball. Given the rest of the year to plan May Ball, Fernando will certainly be able to deliver yet another splendid evening come Spring.
Cheers to the KK for a marvellous night.
Photos by Stand photographer Piers Ruud Moss, unless otherwise noted.