Although I have only spent a handful of months here in St Andrews, I have quickly become acquainted with the whole marquis and ball scene. My excitement started when I overheard some of my third-year friends discussing their DRAFP (David Russell Apartments and Fife Park) Ball plans. Normally, I would not have bat an eyelash at such a conversation, however this group rarely goes out, and yet, they were making an exception for this specific event. With that in mind, I had developed some expectations regarding my first experience with the renowned DRAFP Ball.
A month before the actual event, the DRAFP Ball committee announced the event’s theme: Atlantis. This sparked intrigue and enthusiasm amongst the over 2,000 attendees of both residents and non-residents of the associated halls. Upon arrival, I could already recognise that the committee had spared no detail as they lit up Lower College Lawn with turquoise and blue lighting accents and subaquatic inspired Atlantis-esque statues. They even placed a throne adorned with columns to provide the guests with a perfect photo-op spot to memorialise and publicise the event. Overall, the DRAFP Ball committee kept Atlantis at the forefront of their minds while planning this event as evidenced through their meticulous accents from the jelly-fish wristbands to the lost city décor.
The ball’s music line-up was intense and energetic, featuring TIGRE DJ, Bunce B2B Strata, BPM and headlined by the award-winning James HYPE. The crowd was always moving and dancing along to the constant beats, however when James HYPE took the stage, the atmosphere changed completely. Though the scene prior to his entrance was standard for any St Andrews ball or event, consisting of prolonged casual dancing and singing, James HYPE brought new energy to the marquis. Thanks to his lively remixes and smoky flairs, the crowd never stopped jumping, almost as if it were a cardio class done in heels!
What is a ball without food? Per usual, there was free Jannetta’s ice cream and a sweets goody-bag offered to each guest, keeping the blood sugar high and energy up. If you were still hungry after that or simply wanted a midnight snack, you could head outside to the Blackhorn food truck to purchase some burgers. Interestingly enough, other than the typical inflated drink prices, the food and ticket prices themselves were actually quite reasonable, a truly uncharacteristic yet very appreciated aspect to a typical St Andrews ball.
Between the dancing and sweets, the night was panning out great…until I reached the dreaded bathroom lines. For the first few hours, the girls were restricted to using the bathrooms in the nearby academic building rather than having the option to use the available portable toilets. The lines took at least twenty minutes, and after someone got sick, the entire DRAFP female population was condensed into using five cubicles. It was so frustrating seeing the guys move in and out of the toilets while the ladies stood for what felt like ages.
I can see why my third-year friends ‘hyped’ up DRAFP Ball as it was one of my favourite events that I have attended so far this year. It definitely “ranks among Christmas and Welly Ball” held in the first semester, according to a DRAFP attendee on the dance floor. Simply, I was impressed that the committee had provided the St Andrews community with such a fun night stocked with acclaimed headliners, spunky music and thematic decorations for a fairly reasonable price. I look forward to attending this ball again and again in the coming years!