Bacchanalia: A Night of Highs and Lows

Bacchanalia is one of St Andrews’ freshest events and as such, remains largely unknown within the university community. Frustratingly I found myself being asked the question “what is Bacchanalia?” almost constantly during the lead up to the Friday night event, giving me a slightly uneasy feeling that attendance was going to be slightly below par. This question was posed to me in several variations – “what happens there?”, “who is it for?”, “how do people dress for it?” to which I had only vague and to be fair, optimistic answers for. Yet the intriguing thing was, even after having attended the event, these questions only became highlighted in my mind, the queries somehow increasing rather than becoming abated and answered.

I began asking myself “what is Bacchanlia?”

What are its defining features? What makes it special? During its earlier years it was a celebration of the weird and the wonderful, a gathering of people so completely absorbed in its peculiarities that they found no trouble engaging with the event. Yet this year I fear that this was partially lost. Perhaps it is because I had particularly high expectations from last year, but I felt slightly let down by the small number in attendance, for although I expected an atmosphere akin to a school disco for the early hours of the event, I did not expect this to continue throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning. I understand that this is not the fault of the organisers but remain frustrated at the squandered potential for a brilliant event, had enough people even heard about it.

Credit: Bacchanalia

I will however say, that with the right friends you could surely have thoroughly enjoyed this night. The bands that played were wonderful, including the acoustic music that played downstairs which provided a soundtrack for some of the more mellow moments of the night. Similarly, the decor of the night was beautiful, with ivy strewn across the hall and lights lined across the ceiling, coupled with Younger Halls wonderful pillars that gave the illusion of Greek grandeur. The crowd is also one that is intensely enjoyable to be a part of, with faces lit up all around and giddy smiles plastered on the faces of those carrying out ridiculous dances. It is for this reason that I am so reluctant to write some of the aforementioned faults of Bacchanalia, for the good surely outweighs the bad, for it is especially important to value the inclusivity and welcoming vibes that Bacchanalia exudes so well in a place so obsessed with the notion of the exclusive and the expensive. And so I will end by saying that these people know how to have fun, I only wish more people had joined them.

Credit: Bacchanalia

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