Review: May Ball

This review previously appeared on St Andrews Radio's digital publication - The Record.

With classes over and exams just around the bend, the Kate Kennedy Club Charity May Ball provides St Andrews students with a welcomed escape from the stressors of academic life. This year the ball touted a night out in the classic Kinkell Byre, complete with fairground rides and chart-topping talent.

Food and rides were interspersed outside, providing guests with plenty of opportunity to romp around a mini-fairground. I was particularly impressed by the quality of this event. Having only previously experienced the dodgy traveling funfair that occasionally stopped in my Chicagoland home, I was a bit of a carnival cynic. Kate Kennedy’s May Ball was far nicer than anything I had seen before; each element felt intentional, meticulous and upscale. It could have just been the extravagance of watching my peers drive bumper cars donned with paisley bow ties and satin gowns, but it was a classy carnival if I’ve ever seen one.

The catering was exquisite, with delicious and affordable options from Wild Fire Pizza, Unique Food and Leisure, and Hector & Harriet. Stealing gourmet chips and staring longingly at the pizza of friends felt far from the usual drunken Dervish escapades. My craving for chips, cheese and garlic sauce was nearly squelched when presented with an endless variety of late-night options – a miraculous discovery that made me wish St Andrews had street vendors every night.

Lost Frequencies, the Belgian DJ known for tracks like “Are You With Me” and “Crazy”, was certainly a highlight of the ball. St Andrews rarely manages to host top-tier talent and it was a welcome change of pace to see the crowd so enthused that they were willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to get a glimpse of an artist. It was as close as I can imagine getting to a St Andrews mosh pit and when I sustained an elbow-to-the-face from an overzealous fan hoping to catch De Laet’s attention, I was more charmed than I was disappointed. It was nice to see such pure, unfiltered excitement.

The VIP section was underwhelming. Although the environment was ravishing, with a two-tent spread of lights and extra dancing room, it felt like it caused an unnecessary divide between guests. It is understandable to be enticed to spend the extra twenty-eight quid for champagne and popcorn, but you would likely be just as fulfilled from stopping by Market Street beforehand for some tried-and-true Tesco’s Finest Prosecco and Butterkist. Or better yet, donate the money directly to local charities.

Overall, May Ball embodied the St Andrews spirit and provided a fantastic end to the academic year. While the VIP section seemed to enforce outdated elitist ideals without much culinary reward, the fairground rides and musical acts provided a much-appreciated sense of togetherness. I look forward to seeing what can be accomplished next year.