“Wait so, what is Bacchanalia?” was the question posed to me several million (or so) times over the past week. I might have found it less irritating if I had a definitive answer, and so, it is with considerable relief that I woke up the morning after having experienced the seemingly elusive charms of “Bacchanalia”, finally able to put the issue to bed once and for all.
Bacchanalia is a fairly new St Andrews concoction, begun by the St Salvator’s chapel choir only last year. It promised something different, which is why i suspect I found the aforementioned question so difficult to answer. Was it a ball? Or was it everything a St Andrews ball wasn’t? (cheap, home sourced and stuffed with things to do). I was about to find out.
Upon entering Younger Hall I was met with a scene that felt a little school disco, but with that, also came its charms. An intimate band played as I moved through the space, wondering why I ever put up with being shoved and stepped and herded in true St Andrews ball style. Lights were strewn across the ceiling under which people milled and gathered alcoholic beverages at a bar at where you only had to stand for a minute to get a drink. I know it sounds like I keep going on about money but drinks were cheap, I was free to enjoy the bar and my bank account the next morning, I was winning. Saying this, one of my largest disappointments of this event was the absence of whiskey at the door although we had been warned that only the first hundred guests would be afforded such a luxury. Upon accepting my whiskey-less night I completed a quick glance around the hall that told me that the people who surrounded me knew style but also comfort and honestly, with one guest flaunting the most intelligent wardrobe choice i’ve seen to date: bashed sneakers and long wool socks underneath an elegant dress.
Revelry would be the way I would describe the night to have continued from there. Every time I turned around a new genuinely talented act was playing and a new friend was covered in glitter. I was presented with belly dancers, acapella groups, bands and singers in the same hour. The merry-go-round of entertainment was further replenished when I eventually wandered into a stairwell lured by the promise of life drawing. Pillows and blankets were strewn on the floor in a colour-lit room and I took a seat, proceeding to achieve an artistic masterpiece that I expect will remain unrivalled by my sober self for some time, in crayola. There was chatter and laughter and some silence where a joke had gone down badly in the standup. It wasn’t the Hades themed underworld club that friends had ensured me was there last year, but still it was pure, wholesome entertainment.
Then, it was over far too soon. As far as I am concerned, what happened that fateful night when I finally witnessed the mysterious Bacchanalia was that I got there and in the same minute it was time leave.
But was it a Ball? I don’t know that it was. I’d call it more a house party with an abundance of entertainment. I’ll probably still call it one though, it’s easier to explain.