When attempting to describe Welly Ball to people who do not understand the peculiarities of our St Andrean traditions, I cannot help but picture bumper cars. Yes – it seems that somehow the combination of flat shoes, alcohol, and over a thousand people turns Kinkell Byre into a fairground attraction. With that being said, though, who doesn’t love bumper cars?
The afterparty began with the usual inflow of welly-clad students from the buses and taxis. Unlike the bottleneck line experienced at last year’s cloakroom (which concluded in total chaos at the end of the night), the Welly Ball committee seemed to have learned from their mistake and ensured a continuous, organised flow of guests.
Though eager to dance my night away in the comfort of wellies, last year’s ball left me with a wary eye and low expectations. The small food-to-wine ratio provided at the ball’s previous dinners meant that afterparty guests were generally less drunk than the dinner guests, and noticeably more annoyed. Instead of participating in the game of bumper cars, I felt like I’d been thrown into the ring on my feet, having to precariously navigate around charging herds of students. According to the dinner guests though, this year’s dinner proved to be slightly more copious, creating a more equal balance between them and the incoming party-goers.
Whilst more guests arrived, exploring the venue to discover certain treats including coconut water, coffee, fruit crisps and the crowd-pleasing Ludo & Lolo’s Crêperie, the dancefloor filled up to the sounds of Scott Gordon and Ashton Squires’ sets. With students coming in from shooting clubs around the UK, familiar and unfamiliar faces spotted the venue, creating a refreshing change to the regular ball. Amongst the many issues ball committees have to face, providing a fast an efficient bar staffs seems to be a recurring one.
Paying £25+ pounds to choose whether to stand in a line all night or avoid buying drinks altogether can add a bitter tinge to the memory of a ball. However, Welly Ball’s committee proved to step up to the plate in terms of organisation this year and though there was never a lack of guests in the bar areas, the staff was fast, ensuring each guest could grab their drinks and head back to the heaving dancefloor. Whilst entertaining, Welly Ball’s promotional video, where the committee alluded to last year’s cloakroom fiasco by having a pile of Canada Goose coats snatched from the pier by a sneaky student, reminded me of the reality of last year’s event. Tired and riled, students stormed through the cloakroom, leaving coats stranded in piles on the floor, mixed up, and lost, never to be seen again.
Though the committee’s video cast a comical shadow on last year’s turn of events, their approach to the situation at the ball this year proved that they took the matter seriously. With a security guard and an organised team of volunteers, guests were able to collect their personal belongings calmly and leave the ball with a sense of satisfaction rather than regret. Though, to my personal dismay, my wellies did not prevent me from being toppled to the ground by an incoming bumper car, 2016’s iteration of Welly Ball stepped up to the plate, proving its worth once again.