Clash over Strauss Ball

Originally published in Volume III, Issue 2 on 21st October 1996 by Colm Coyne and Maria A Smith. The saga of the ‘ownership’ of the UCD Strauss Ball continues with both the Arts Society and the L&H are planning to run events under that name within the next two months. The Strauss Ball has been run in UCD since 1993. It was originally conceived as an Arts Soc by then auditor Gavin Doherty. This first ball was estimated to made a loss to Arts Soc in excess of £3000. As a result, a decision was made by the society in 1994 not to go ahead with what was then seen as a financially unfeasible event. Mr.Doherty then decided in association with two other students to run the Strauss Ball using their own money as capital. This ball was run as a ‘Strauss Ball Society’ event in that year and although accounts are not available it is believed that a small profit was by Mr. Doherty and his partners Donagh Collins and Colm McDonagh. At the beginning of the ‘95 College year the then auditor of the L&H was approached with a view to ‘buying’ the rights to the Strauss Ball for that and succeeding years for the sum of £500. An offer of a similar nature made to last year’s auditor of the Arts Soc, Colman Fahy, had been refused on the grounds that the Strauss Ball was already an Arts Soc event and that there was no way the Society was going to pay for something it already felt it owned. In addition to this committee felt that there was no way the Ball would be a success and were not willing to accept the financial risk. The Arts Soc therefore made no move to run the Ball last year. The L&H accepted the offer however and a highly successful event was run with the backing of the society. Alastair McMenamin, Auditor of the L&H, stated that what the L&H had bought was the experience and contact of Gavin Doherty and Donagh Collins in running an event of this nature. This experience it was felt, would allow the society to run the Strauss as a purely L&H event in the future years thus providing the L&H with a ball of its own. The auditor of the Arts Society, Stephen Carroll, believes that his society has every right to run the Strauss based on the loss suffered by the society due to the original event. The auditors and committees of the two societies have met over the past few weeks to discuss the date and venues of both Balls and, despite some minor friction and expected competitiveness over ticket sales, both sides insist there is no animosity between them. However the L&H has already preempted the Arts Soc event by advertising their Strauss Ball throughout the college a month and a half before it is to be held. The Arts society are billing their Strauss Ball this year as a charity benefit with the proceeds going to the ISPCC. This may affect ticket prices, but neither society has fixed its prices for members or non-members at this stage. Rumour has it that the Arts Soc may go as low as £17 in a bid to undercut the L&H but nothing has been announced as the paper goes to press. The L&H event will take place on the 27th November and the Arts Society’s is billed for the 30th October. Both Balls are due to be held in Jury’s Hotel, Ballsbridge. The Ballroom trade is booming this winter.