Once again proving to be the grandest and well attended of all the spring hall balls, the DRAFP Hall Ball has reaffirmed itself as one of the staple events of the Candlemas semester. Lower College Lawn was effectively transformed into a Venetian soiree – from the starlit entrance to the scattered pieces of Italian sculpture work, no detail was spared.
Masquerade balls have been attempted many times in St. Andrews, recently last year’s “Masque-rave”, however the “Venetian Night” put on by the DRAFP committee is undoubtedly the most successful as of yet. With a free mask promised with every ticket, attendees were forced to double takes when encountering their masked friends. With a triumphant “mask off” moment at midnight, one felt as if they were at a traditional masquerade party straight out of “Romeo and Juliet.”
With an all-star line up of Kideko, 99 SOULS and BBC Radio 1 host Nick Grimshaw, attendees were treated to unwaveringly excellent music all night long. Grimshaw, who typically pulls in about 6 million listeners a week, brought down the house as he spun his tracks for the packed venue of just over a thousand students.
Key aspects of any ball, the ambience and atmosphere of Saturday night’s revelry were second to none. A universally appreciated element of the night was the various performers who mingled throughout the guests. Stilted women and living Venetian statues meandered about, posing for photos with attendees and interacting with the environment.
The DRAFP committee put together a fantastic event with excellent music and an interesting theme. This being said, when compared to previous years, it raised some questions. The price – £10 for residents and £20 for non-residents – compared to last year’s £5 for residents and £10 for non-residents, and two years before that, free for residents and £5 for non-residents left many asking – why the increase? And, did the quality of experience increase with that price?
Last year, guests were treated to free hog-roast, ice cream, popcorn and prosecco while this year the complimentary offerings dropped to the customary Jannettas. Additionally, last years theme, “Seven Deadly Sins” provided more interactive theme elements such as casino games and photo opportunities in the form of giant pound signs and thrones. The number of food vendors also diminished from years past, with options decreasing to just two.
NB: The committee has confirmed that the event raised over £10,000 for three charities – Save the Children, Scottish Refugee Council, and Families First Fife – likely due to the increased ticket prices.
On the whole, as a standalone event, the DRAFP committee’s “Venetian Night” was a resounding triumph. As other halls host their balls hold their balls during this month and next, DRAFP’s ball surely will be held in high esteem as the benchmark by which to judge success.