On May 4, 2024, anticipation reached its peak as Formal finally arrived at Concord Academy. Formal is a cherished tradition eagerly awaited by all, usually serving as a highlight of the school year. Attendees have the chance to dress up and enjoy a glamorous evening of fun and celebration. This year, the venue chosen for the event was the prestigious Fairmont Copley Plaza. Acclaimed by Tripadvisor, this Plaza is a renowned luxury hotel in downtown Boston steeped in history and elegance since its grand opening in 1912. As such, a meticulous planning process was necessary to make the event a reality.

Formal preparation has always been complicated as it often requires extensive negotiation for prices. Entertainment representatives Zhaoyi Meng ’24, Rory Kennealy ’24, and student head of school Jessie Ma ’24 collaborated to compile a list of potential venues. Options considered included The Sinclair, last year's venue, as well as the Museum of Science, Boston Children’s Museum, New England Aquarium, and Fairmont Copley Plaza. Contact was swiftly made with each venue to inquire about rental costs. While some venues proved to be prohibitively expensive, others, such as the Aquarium, the Museum of Science, and the Copley offered more feasible options. Thanks to the negotiation skills of Sandy Nash—described as a master negotiator by Zhaoyi Meng ’24—a favorable deal was secured with The Copley. They not only provided the best pricing but also waived the cost of one room. Ultimately, the decision was made to hold this year’s Formal at the Copley.

The Copley is a four-star hotel located in Boston’s historic Back Bay. It sits steps away from area attractions such as the famed Fenway Park, Boston Public Library, popular downtown restaurants, shops like the unique boutiques of Newbury Street, and much more. The hotel has even served as the setting of scenes from various movies and TV shows, including The Boondock Saints, The Equalizer 2, The Firm, Bride Wars, and American Hustle.

Overall, the venue was quite elegant and fancy. Upon entering, there was a reception room with tables, a photo booth, ice cream, cake, and an array of food including chicken, hamburgers, salads, tater tots, and a taco bar. Since everyone arrived feeling hungry, they immediately and eagerly lined up to grab something to eat. Besides the dining, though, the main attraction of the evening was undoubtedly the photo booth. Sophia Zhou ’26 said, “My friends and I had a blast taking silly photos together with the provided props, and it served as a wonderful way to capture our memories from the evening.”

Beyond the reception room, there was a mosh pit, a DJ, tables, and refreshing drinks. As students regained their energy, they quickly moved to the mosh pit to dance. The DJ created a lively atmosphere in the dance area with several popular songs. However, many students complained that the mosh pit was too small; several individuals almost tripped while tightly pressed upon one another. With many dripping in sweat, several students felt uncomfortable with the proximity. Nevertheless, the mosh pit sustained its popularity up to the end of the event.

There was also another room called the “Zen Den,” which was separate from both the reception and mosh pit. There, people could relax and take a break from the loud music and the heat. Several students hung out there—sitting, talking, and playing cards.

Considering the money spent and the hard work done in preparation for Formal, the event proved to be a resounding success. Between the photo booth and the energetic mosh pit, students departed with sweat, hoarse voices, and fatigue—but also a sense of satisfaction and fond memories. It was a fantastic way to conclude the busy year.