In search of a May Ball ticket

April showers for May Ball queuers

Evening of the 14th April. The night before ticket sales for May Ball 2015 open at 10am at the Bandstand.

12:00 AM: Rejected from Ma Bells due to the large shopping bag of alcohol in my friend’s hand and the enormous suspicious looking red duffel bag slung across my shoulders. No matter, nothing will stand between us and our vital pre-queue preparations. Two tequila shots at the Union and a gin and tonic at the Beacon Bar later, we are starting to feel pleasantly invincible. Yes, we laugh in the face of queuing eight hours on a patch of grass. We are strong, we are going to party through this and, most importantly, we’re a little bit drunk now.

1:15 AM: We notice people are beginning to twitch nervously towards the doors; groups also carrying suspicious looking backpacks are gathering and moving off tellingly in the direction of The Scores. A rumour that the queue is already growing fast spreads round the Union, inducing an atmosphere of indecision amongst many, and smug glee amongst those who know they’re going home to a nice, warm, comfortable bed. We make our decision. It’s time for action.


2:00 AM: Our group has gathered together. One member has gone to stake a claim on our patch of turf while we girls head off for the first of much, much, junk food. After a highly-welcome bacon roll from probably the most genius contraption ever, the 24-hour pie machine, we make our way to The Scores. Arrival is an eerie experience. Ghostly in the dim light reaching from the streetlights, a small village has miraculously appeared, winding across the grass to that Holy Grail we are all there to reach when 10:00 AM finally comes around: the Band Stand. Tents have been erected and picnic blankets stretched out, interspersed with the odd sleeping bag. A friend of mine is walking along the queue, already counting the number of people ahead of us. It is 2:00 AM, and there are sixty people in this queue. And looking behind us, it’s already getting bigger. No matter! We are here, we have vodka, schnapps, tunes, and great company. This isn’t going to be so bad, it’s going to be fun! And someone just brought pizza.

2:30 AM: We have cracked into the red duffel bag of survival, put together by a kind friend who also happens to be a member of the British Exploring Team. We are wrapped in as many clothes as we can put on our bodies and working out a rota for the use of our lovely sleeping bag. I have now consumed a fair amount of vodka and schnapps, and life is great. Other groups of friends begin to become identifiable elsewhere in the queue, all also in high spirits. If we are going to queue for eight hours, we are going to make it great.

2:47 AM: Someone’s putting up a nine-man tent. A Nine. Man. Tent.

3:30: AM: It’s starting to get a little chilly, and fortunately it’s my turn to get into the sleeping bag.

3:32 AM: You know what, sod the rota, no-one else is getting in this sleeping bag all night. It is warm and it is MINE.

3:57 AM: Ok… It’s just a little bit windy. But that’s fine. Wind is so survivable. Particularly for die-hard queue goers like us.

4:08 AM: Yeah I’m sure that wasn’t rain I just felt. It basically hasn’t rained since we got back to St Andrews from Spring Break so it’s not going to choose tonight to do it, right?

4:10 AM: It’s raining.

4:38 AM: It’s official. You cannot actually fit two girls inside this sleeping bag. Only two pairs of legs. Also, rain is really cold. And splashy. And in my ear.

5:00 AM: Our umbrella breaks and then gets blown away. Now rain is even splashier.

5:24 AM: Why did I do this to myself? Why did I think I wanted to go to May Ball? Why did I think it was a good idea to camp out for a stupid ticket? I have deadlines! And exams! What am I doing with my life?

5:47 AM: So… Cold… So so cold……

6:08 AM: I have a shameful confession to make. I cut and run, and left my wonderful, kind and surprisingly durable friends to queue in my stead while I got into a warm taxi, practically sobbing with cold. I’m now back in my comfortable bed in DRA. I have failed everyone I said I would queue for, and I have absolutely no idea why I’m so ashamed with myself for actually not being able to enjoy queuing overnight in pouring rain and freezing cold. What’s worse, assuming my friends make it to the front of the line, I’m still going to get to go to May Ball in spite of my total failure. This is where my queue journey ends.

11:15 AM: Wow. I am hungover.

11:17 AM: Text from a friend: ‘Hey, we turned up at 10, got a ticket!’ I have no more words.