top of page

BNS 6: The actual Ball

Updated: May 31, 2019

The ball Set up

© Sister Sanguinista all rights reserved

A couple of live bands and maybe a DJ play in the dance area, which is normally in an agricultural shed or a temporary marquee, but sometimes outside. The bar and food are either a makeshift stand in the main shed/marquee, or in a nearby shed. And there is normally an outdoor area for people to stand in and talk, or sit on chairs, old tractor tires or hay bales. Either there is a permanent toilet block or a truck of porterloos brought in. The whole thing is fenced off by temporary fencing, with security at the gate checking for wristbands to make sure people are 18 years and older going in.

© Sister Sanguinista all rights reserved

Formality of the ball—dress code

The modern ball itself is formal only in its historic and traditional dress code of black pants and white shirts for the blokes, and the dresses for the ladies, who often wear a white shirt themselves over their dress. But in truth, it can’t be formal when you are inevitably going be covered in food dye and grog and the dirt being kicked up by the boots. Or the permanent marker messages people write on you. And the cowboy hats, akubras etc, covered in cattle tags from the different balls. So it is best to get your dress and shirts from an op shop or cheap shop—although the dye comes out pretty easily in the wash, as does the permanent marker with enough bleach.

Photos © Sister Sanguinista all rights reserved

The formal dress code is more a default. There are plenty of people who opt for dressing up in costumes. Granted the majority of them tend to be blokes, either wearing dresses, cultivating hideous mullets, or wearing novelty suits, onesies and other get ups. Some Sheilas dress up too, but not to the extent of the blokes. And the days where the shielas could pick up a hideous 80s ball gown or wedding dress from an op shop are pretty much over since they op shops have been cleaned out over time.

Photos © Sister Sanguinista all rights reserved

Footwear in the ball is often cowboy boots for the Shielas and blokes, but you can go with blundstones, some other boots, runners or whatever suits. It’s ill advised to wear thongs as someone will probably stomp on your toes in the mess of the ball, and afterwards, your feet will filthy black from all the dirt, spilt grog and food dye.

Photos © Sister Sanguinista all rights reserved

Food dye

Photos © Sister Sanguinista all rights reserved

The balls are known for their food dye. The different balls try to ban it on paper, and some even do pat downs at the gate to confiscate it, but they are never going to win. People will hide it in their cleavage, butt cracks, undies, boots, hair and anywhere else they can think of. People toss it from bottles over head and some dickheads spit it on their friends. Even if it doesn’t land on you, you’ll end up brushing up against someone covered in it and get stained that way. You can walk out of a ball and not even know how you got it on you. You just have to accept you will get covered, but it is pretty revolting to get caught in the cross fire when it’s being spat from someone's heliotosis mouth.

For the stricter balls, security will kick people out if they have stained teeth, because people only really have stained teeth if they had it in their mouth to spit. But kicking them out won’t save you, it's too late by then. Food dye is just a reality of the ball. My advice is to wear it as a mark of pride of how deep you got into the dance floor, and have baby wipes in your car to get the bulk of it off, and know the rest will come off in the shower. And also, it comes out of the white shirts, even if you need to soak it first in Napisan, and wash it twice. That's if your shirt is worth saving, A lot of them will be ripped open, the sleeves ripped off and the pockets too. Why not, the boys are as objectified by the girls, as much as the girls are objectified by the boys.

Ball Booze

The price of your ticket includes a wrist band at the gate which either has a paper ticket to check off, or tabs to be torn off in exchange for each drink you get in the ball. A normal limit is 10 drinks, which is more than enough for most people, especially if they’ve been drinking earlier. But how strictly the bartenders check off the drinks, depends on the ball. Some start off strict but relax later on. You won’t necessarily manage to drink the 10 drinks, a lot of cans get knocked out of peoples’ hands, others flick the grog overhead or throw the actual can. It’s one thing for it to rain alcohol, it’s another to be clocked in the head by a can, so don’t do that


There are regular bands doing a circuit of country events. You might know someone of them, but if you don't, it doesn't strictly matter as they play covers of classic pub rock and country hits. And sometimes people are so drunk it doesn't even matter what is playing, as long as you have a beat to dance to. Some classics are:

  • CopperHead Road by Steve Earle,

  • Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd,

  • Boys from the Bush by Lee Kernaghan,

  • Am I ever going to see your face again by the Angels,

  • Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy by Big Rich


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page