A St Andrews institution, the Kate Kennedy Charity May Ball is annually bound to certain tenets: Kinkell Byre, a VIP marquee, and big name musical acts. This year, ball convenor Isabela Campos de Almeida sought to maintain these three iconic attributes, while altering them enough to warrant the ticket price increase. Between plentiful food choices and several buzzing dance floors, the ball certainly succeeded in this goal – while also raising money for local Fife charities.
The night opened, per usual, with a three course dinner, catered for the first time by Bespoke Catering & Events. Guests devoured mushroom pâté, lamb, and cheesecake, notable improvements on prior years’ fare. Afterwards, guests entered the main Byre, to await the rapid reopening of the VIP marquee.
The marquee itself was a standout of the night, as observed by numerous dinner and VIP guests. Taking advantage of the stunning weather, the tent was entirely clear, revealing the spectacular St Andrews skyline in the distance. Even when the sunlight faded, night stars provided ample ambience throughout the evening. Within the marquee, guests devoured complimentary churros and donuts and popcorn, available alongside limitless Monkey Shoulder whiskey cocktails. As always, VIP guests had access to a separate bar, lounge area, and private dance floor, all a respite from the crowds of the main room.
Classic ticket holders, similarly, found little disappointment in their offerings. Unlimited access to three fairground rides, two bars, three food trucks, and two dance floors allowed the crowd to dissipate evenly throughout Kinkell. Queues to the rides were, unsurprisingly, lengthy; however early arrivals were able to reach the front in under fifteen minutes. (This reviewer sadly did not overcome her old fear of chundering on La Bamba, and gave the rides a miss.)
Redlight, Sam Feldt, and Yungen may have headlined the night, but the supporting acts truly shone across the venue’s three stages. Bpm, Max Dupa, Tom Hurst, Hamish and James, Anna-Sophie, and St Andrews Fusion all performed to general acclaim – dare I say, outdoing the sometimes synonymous leading acts.
Outside, all guests were able to purchase food from three vendors: The Belgian Waffle Tuk, On The Roll, and WildFire Pizza. Not only did every truck serve outstanding dishes, but guests were quick to note the unusual choice at having strictly out-of-town vendors. In previous years, May Ball has been catered exclusively by BlackHorn. Although bite-sized burgers are a suitably inoffensive drunk food, I admit there is little point in travelling to Kinkell only to purchase something regularly available in St Andrews. Hopefully May Ball will start a new trend of fresh food options for student-run events.
When the final waffle had been consumed and the last song played, the final guests stumbled onto the buses – moving through a pleasantly swift queue. Despite facing significant competition from foundling events (Elaga and Fight Club, among other start ups), May Ball both sold out and impressed its attendees. The Kate Kennedy Club has once again proven that, as the town’s original event organisers, they truly can put on a good show.