The 2014 Law Ball went off without a hitch. The ballroom was filled with well-dressed people, glowing decorations and an undeniable air of excitement. The entrées were hot, the mains were delicious and guests were entertained by masterful fire twirlers while they ate. The desserts were tempting but by that time, most guests had migrated to the dance floor to let down their hair. At the end of the night the drinks were still flowing, and anyone who had any steam left hopped on the bus to the after-party.
Having been responsible for orchestrating last year’s law ball, I know firsthand that successfully pulling off an event of that scale is a complicated balancing act. While it is the cheapest package the Peninsula offers, the $90 which is paid for food and beverages does not include theming, audio-visual equipment, entertainment, an after-party venue, or transport to that after-party. Contrary to what DM printed in ‘Law Ball Rip Off’ it does not include security which costs an additional $1.99 per ticket. One of the recommendations last year’s activities team made to this years, in light of feedback, was that three courses was probably worth the extra $4-5 a ticket.
Last year, for example, $11.57 per ticket went to theming and another $13.80 to audio-visual equipment (which was the lowest quote). $1.99 went to entertainment which included the C-grade band and the DJ. As far as I’m aware this year’s entertainment was around $2.00 a ticket as well. $1.67 went to buses for the after-party. That price is not solely dependent on distance, and it should be paid, lest 800 jolly law students be released onto the streets. The after party itself cost less than $0.73 per ticket which went to security and entertainment. Along with $0.64 per ticket for sundries like printing. Assuming a full bond return, the total cost per ticket last year was $122.30. The total income per ticket was $123.06.
Additional income does come in the way of sponsorship, however the “substantial amount” the treasurer referred to is contextual. It is a substantial amount in the context of sponsorship for activities but in real terms the sponsorship money works out at about somewhere between $4 and $7 a ticket depending on the year.
Last year, the venue bond was $6000.00, which works out at about $7.50 per ticket. If the deposit on the venue had have been lost, which has happened in the past, the LSS runs the event at a loss. The bond last year was returned and the $2000 that the LSS was able to make from the event (about $2.20 a ticket) went into funding other initiatives –including yoga, sports days and other wellbeing activities.
While concerns with equal access are well founded, it is unfair to call such an event a rip-off. The similarly located Commerce Ball charges $125.00 a ticket, the Sydney University law ball costs upwards of $150.00 a ticket. Believe me when I say that as an activities director it is your job to be acutely aware of including as a large a cross-section of the law student population as they can, and knowing this year’s activities team, I am certain that they have done everything they can to ensure that this year’s ball struck the right balance.
Andrew Frawley is a 3rd year JD student. He was the LSS Activities Director in 2013.