Firstly I just want to say that Masque-Rave, although a brilliant idea to come from a worthwhile campaign, suffered due to a number of issues that were out of its control. Having realised just how many balls took place in November, the committee made the last minute decision to change the event to a dinner and club night rather than a black-tie affair. Further drama with budgeting limitations meant that much of the event was forcibly cut back, which was fairly evident on the night. Finally, as I’m sure people can relate, being the night after the US Presidential election results meant that not many of the revellers were feeling too jubilant. Even the people who did make it out, for the most part, sat around in sombre silence, overly focused on their sangria.
While I greatly admire the amount of effort the committee obviously put into the organisation and planning of the night, it’s difficult to not see it as doomed from the get-go.
One of the main issues was the location of the event. Forgoing the typical fancy sit down dinner that usually comes with a ball, the organisers instead aimed for a laid-back setting in the Balgove Larder, one of the sponsors of the event. While it was an ambitious step in the direction of new venues (don’t we all get bored of Kinkell Byre?), it wasn’t the most practical of choices.
Firstly there was the fact that it was a barn – hardly the most glamorous of settings.
Secondly, it was a barn in Scotland. In November. It wasn’t exactly the sort of climate one would associate with carnival. While efforts had been made to cozy the place up a little, there was still only one point of heat, around the fireplace, and this is where the committee firmly situated themselves all night. The rest of the guests, meanwhile, were forced either to huddle together like penguins or just give up on looking glamorous and keep their Barbours over their ball gowns.
Finally, the biggest problem I found with Balgove was the fact that it had no floor. Normally gravel is fine, but with gravel comes gross amounts of dust which proceeded to get over everyone. Combine the dust marks with grit crammed into my shoes and all of a sudden I didn’t feel like the magical carnival princess that I imagine the committee wanted me to be.
Thinking about the theme of the night is almost saddening. Had it actually been used for a ball-gown black tie affair, the results could have been outstanding but due to a lack of clarity on what exactly this event was, not many people were really in a ‘carnival’ type of mood. Those who had dressed up just looked awkward in the Balgove setting – wearing a tuxedo or heels in a barn just doesn’t feel right. Meanwhile people on the opposite end of the spectrum looked enviably warm but largely self-conscious.
When you’re sitting at a table with half the people in formal attire and half the people in jeans, it’s easy to feel out of place. The only active effort for sticking with the theme that I could identify was the plethora of masks that had been strewn around the room, along with colourful beads and boas. An effort had clearly been made, it was just a pity they missed the mark so obviously.
Expectations aside, the night was clearly split into two segments, with almost no cohesion between the two. In fact, the majority of people who went to the Balgove dinner didn’t bother to show up to the 601 event. I do sympathise with the committee – some of them had been at the Steak Barn from 3, and the idea of staying at 601 till close just must not have seemed very appealing. The turnout for the supposed ‘sell-out’ night at the Union was downright appalling.
Combine that with a lack of clarity about just who was entitled to a free drink with their ticket (if you’d had the basically non-alcoholic sangria with dinner, that unfortunately wasn’t you) the night seemed a bit lack-lustre. If you didn’t end up going, I’m sorry to say you didn’t exactly miss much.