A staple in the St Andrews social calendar, the Welly Ball After Party never fails to deliver light in the midst of the dark November deadline season. The event follows the standard St Andrews ball format, with the only exception being that all the guests are adorned in welly boots as a tribute to the St Andrews Challenge, the national shooting competition preceding the event. This unusual twist on the usual black tie dress code is highly practical, both for comfortable dancing and for the inevitably mucky floors as guests meander through Kinkell Byre until 2 am.
The dinner itself is one of the biggest University social events, hosting 700 students both from our University and from other universities across the UK, comprised of teams from the competition. From around 9 pm onwards, a further 800 after party guests gradually trickle in, students being ferried to and from the town centre by a smoothly operating non-stop bus service.
The venue this year held all its usual charm. Its multitude of overhead fairy lights twinkled overheard, and the vast space was made available for guests to explore. Partygoers revolved around the central dancefloor space, which was crowded all through the night. First onstage was headline act Normanton Street, a hip hop-soul fusion band hailing from Brighton. The band enchanted the audience with their smooth and unique genre-blending sound. Following their performance were sets from St Andrews’ own well-loved DJ talents TEA, //SG, and Asquire, the latter including excerpts from The Lion King, the Friends theme song and even the jingle from BBC quiz show Countdown, much to the delight of the crowd.
Meanwhile, the surrounding bar space was equally filled to capacity with a constant stream of guests milling in every direction or thronging around the bar. Mingling largely unnoticed among guests was Tatler photographer Zygmunt von Sikorski-mazur, who captured the event’s best dressed attendees. The marquee, previously used as the dinner tent, had been converted into a relaxed seating space where guests could enjoy crepes freshly made by student-run initiative and Vic regulars Ludo & Lolo’s Crêperie. For those seeking savoury flavours, local burger restaurant and event sponsor Blackhorn provided students the chance to quench their hunger – or, in many cases, soften the effects of the night’s alcohol.
The impressive sum of money raised this year in ticket sales for the ball’s partner charity, The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, was put towards a cause thought to be of great relevance to students on a nation-wide level. The charity aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and support students in universities across the country suffering from mental health issues. Tickets for the event are always a hot commodity, this year selling out in just three and a half hours.
Reflecting on the evening’s proceedings, Welly Ball Co-Director Ben Conway remarked
“I believe this year’s Welly Ball was a resounding success. The number of people still on the dancefloor at our 2 am close is a real testament to the fantastic musical acts featured. While the night went well(y!), the money raised through the support of all those in attendance will allow us to donate what is expected to be upwards of £18,000 to our supported charity. This money makes a world of difference to the work that they do and supports a cause that I, and I’m sure many other university students, can relate to.”
Congratulations to Directors Ben and Jemima McCrystal and to the rest of the Welly Ball committee for once again putting on an astounding event, providing a much-needed stress release and a real excuse to party hard, St Andrews style.