Bacchanalia: ‘Drunken Revelry and Ritual Madness’

Emily Fielder previews Bacchanalia, looking to find out what surprises the committee has in store.


On the 9th March Younger Hall will be host to the night of ‘drunken revelry and ritual madness’ that is Bacchanalia. But what exactly is Bacchanalia? I chatted to the committee to find out.

‘Bacchanalia isn’t a ball as such,’ says Peter Dorey, ‘which is what makes it so different. We’re trying to break down the ideas of what it means to be a ball in St Andrews by not only providing great music from our wealth of talent within our university, but also to allow others from different artistic and cultural fields the opportunity to express themselves in an open and relaxed environment.’

Social media and publicity representative, Louise Cameron, adds that what makes the event really stand out is the ‘celebration of musicians, the affordable price and the general mood that comes along with what is essentially an arts festival with the sophistication of a ball.’Indeed, this year’s Bacchanalia will include a variety of different of acts. The main hall will be filled with music from Too This For That and the saxophone quartet, whilst slam poetry and improv comedy can be found in the more intimate setting of the Stewart Room. Those of you who went last year might remember the human statues and the life drawing – well, fear not, because they’ll be making a return this year. Although Bacchanalia is traditionally an orgiastic ode to Bacchus, the god of wine, this in no way lim-its your alcoholic choices as the union bar, including its famous Pablos, will be making a reappearance. Furthermore, the first 100 to arrive will be provided with a free drink from Kingsbarns distillery.

Now for some practical points: what to wear. Although last year’s event was firmly rooted in the Greco-Roman theme, this year the event is moving on from its historic roots to reimagine Bacchanalia as an ageless cultural symposium. ‘I understand this gives little help in terms of what to wear,’ says Mr. Dorey, ‘but we want this to be an excuse for people to get dressed up but at the same time feel they can be expressive with what they wear, so if I was to give a dress code, it would be Starfields meets White Tie Reeling Ball.’

‘Bacchanalia’s not something you can put your finger on, and in a way that’s the fun,’ says Catherine Hooper, who is running the committee this year. ‘We can’t tell you what it will and won’t be – you’ve just got to come and find out.’

Tickets come out at midday on 5 February and will be £16 on FIXR


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