October 26th, finished work and getting ready to head out to the Halloween Masked Ball. Sheets of rain battered the window as our car left, me in my ‘wedding dress’ along with a Skeleton Gorilla (I called him Gorelleton). 2 hours later we hit the traffic and, being an impatient bunch, we decided to take a ‘short cut’ and miss out the queue. Another hour later we hit the same queue, resulting in us having to walk the next 20 mins to the Ball. Now, many of you would think that the walk would dampen our spirits, but the rowdy rabble were roaring to get into the party. Cans of beer clenched tightly in every fist, the odd dancer outside every other car posing as a milestone as we venture down the track into the muddier and muddier lesser known. Finally we reach the campsite (husaah!) and somehow manage to pitch the tent, sip on a homemade dark and stormy, gain a wristband and we were in! Ready to explore the new, bigger Masked Ball.
Those of you that attended the May Masked Ball have already bopped in Balls Deep, but now we had Balls Deeper – a tent that you had to enter via a slide and, in theory, fall into a plethora of balls (our entrance had no balls as it was migrating season and they had headed south for the winter, well further into the heart of Masked Ball). Leaving the signature zombies and vampires to dance away, we headed towards the Raveyard, trying to find our way into the Unfairground (a complete fairground with Helter Skelter and Funhouse!). Bales of hay were stacked at the side of an open dance area, lasers darted above our heads and behind us stood a party animal graveyard along with what I could only describe as a zombie saloon (I have no clue what it was actually called). The ground beneath us had turned into chocolate pudding, an earthy slop that made it hard for the soberest of people to trudge into the next phase of the festival.
The Unfairground looked awesome – a coconut shy greeted you as you paraded through the masked masses, a strength test, Helter Skelter and Fun House unveiled before you. A man took to a small stage attaching a barrel of beer to his earlobes and swinging it too and fro (how do you find out you have a talent like this?). Now I, being a cheapskate, would not pay to go on the rides and therefore missed out on the adventures in the Fun House. I never did see the Horror Maze either (maybe this was not in attendance after the horrendous amount of rain).
My favourite part of the night was meeting a bunch of very tall wizards who cast a spell to ensure a good night followed, it did and I thanked them every time I ran into them at the different stages. I love the Halloween Masked Ball, but for some reason I felt that this year it was missing something, the little touches… yes there were still small intricate decorations and amazing stages, but a slight magic was gone (maybe due to the change in size). Drinks were reasonably priced, £3 for cans and jagerbombs, the bar staff dressed accordingly – the odd zip off eye and white pupils stared at you whilst you ordered your next beverage. This year had more of a transitional feel to it, changing from a party into a festival, growing from its messy teenage years into a university student. There definitely were some hiccups, mainly the massive queue due to several incidents occurring in a small space of time, resulting in many ticket holders having their cars turned away and being forced to camp at the roadside. I have no clue who I saw mainly due to the lack of organisation on my part, and partially due to my lack of programme (I had been working 4 jobs in the past week and had been unable to gander at the line-up in detail).
I woke up in the morning, having partied the night away, scurried mud into my new tent and managing to cover myself with a pink blanket (overall victory). The campsite outside was deserted, a few stragglers held on, masks lay strewn in the mud side by side with twisted cans. The odd shoe lay submerged in nearby puddles holding tales of the hedonistic partying of the night before. In my mind The Masked Ball brings light in the depths of the Cornish Winter, something to look forward too and have a last big blowout before the Christmas season (which is ebbing closer and closer). It may well be a substantial amount of money but it is a guaranteed good night on a camel farm (it’s ok, they evacuate the camels before the masses transcend!) and each year it’s growing and bringing new experiences you wouldn’t get at the average Joe Halloween Party.
The Porthleven Masked Ball hold two events a year in the South West of Cornwall, bringing you amazing music in a breathtaking location with many a surreal setting thought up by the organisers (the May one included an Alice in Wonderland tent that you entered through a tunnel). Keep an eye out for the May Masked Ball, Early Bird tickets are on sale now through the website.