As this was my last Saint assignment, I just had one thing to say: May Ball, come at me.
Dressed to the nines, I couldn’t help feel a touch of nostalgia at the fact that this would be my last ever ball (Grad Ball doesn’t count!) so I was really looking forward to the night. After hearing what Chris Kunkler, the event’s convener, had to say last month, I was curious as to how he was going to put a twist on this age-old St Andrews staple.
The format was as usual: dinner guests left St Andrews at 5 pm, with buses starting for VIP guests at 7:45, and an hour later for classic ticket holders. After the queues from last year, we made sure to arrive a bit later so that we didn’t have to wait in the rain and made it on a bus that left almost immediately around 9:30.
Fortunately, the weather held off and we arrived at Kinkell to a scene of utter chaos. Bouncers were breaking up a fight even before we’d gotten off the bus, but after having our wristband checked and being admitted to the main venue, most of the guests seemed distracted by the food stalls. These included St Andrews’ newest culinary venture Mexigo, the ever-present (and welcome!) Buffalo Food Truck, as well as a burger/chips/nachos van. There were also promises of free candyfloss, but sadly I did not come across any.
And for those wanting to indulge a little more, there was also a seafood bar serving oysters, lobster and paella. I’m not convinced as to how popular these options were as the champagne and seats seemed to be the main draw to this area.
There were multiple bars throughout the venue, all of which moved relatively quickly. I think this might have been partially due to the encouragement to bring cash rather than card and drinks lists/prices clearly marked, but either way I was impressed with the speed and service.
The high point of this ball for Chris was clearly the entertainment. The main stage acts included St Andrews favourites A.C.B and Seedy Soundsystem, who supported the headliner, Duke Dumont. To ensure classic/VIP mixing and a packed dance floor during Duke Dumont’s set, there was a break in the VIP entertainment. That said, I’m not sure that this had the desired effect as many VIP ticket holders only stayed for a few of Duke Dumont’s songs and then returned to the VIP tent.
While the main stage dance floor did remain full for most of the evening, there was a definite upswing when Seedy Soundsystem came on with their signature mix of live sax and drums, plus a DJ.
Additional entertainment in the VIP section included the Fabulous Hurricanes, Jebsen and Joe Jones. They certainly kept the almost universally tipsy dance-floor busy all night, and despite not selling out, the VIP tent was busy and buzzing.
May Ball wouldn’t be May Ball without the signature fairground rides, and all three (dodgems, La Bamba and the Scrambler) were present. There were queues for each, despite the smattering of rain, but they moved quickly.
So the overall verdict? Well, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – VIP is most definitely the way to go here. With a separate tent, including bar and dance-floor, as well as some cool extra freebies, it is entirely worth it. I mean, if you can’t push the boat out at May Ball, when can you?
KKC, thank you for another great night!