Every week we’ll put two events head to head. But we want to know what you think! Vote for your favourite night and see who comes out on top. First up, FS 2014’s Starfields and The Saint‘s New Saint at the Old Course.
As a wizened fourth year I spent my final Freshers’ Week going to bed early and getting up to sort out my dissertation work. My friends and I spent our evenings discussing how hangovers have got heavier and how we’d much rather be tucked up by nine with a cup of tea and a hot water bottle. But when asked if I wanted to attend Starfields, I figured I should probably start my final year with a bang. As many began the final weekend of Freshers’ 2013 in the Union, dancing away to the cheese-fest of S Club Party, I spent my evening at a music festival listening to some of the best acts St Andrews has seen in years . Starfields was the Freshers’ Week event of FS 2014. And it was incredible.
With the sheer numbers attending there was bound to be a few glitches with transportation. The buses were full and every taxi in St Andrews had been booked up. But as soon as the venue was reached this was forgotten. The dark journey burst into a bright stage, bars and Portaloos. It was set up to look like a festival and the hoards of attendees swarmed into the area dressed in everything from hoodies and jeans, to neon crop tops and micro shorts.
Owing to the delays on transport, it seemed only right that the second act should wait, especially as King Charles seemed to be the reason many people were attending. Every time his distinctive dreadlocked head appeared stage-side, the crowd roared. His set was energetic, though sadly his microphone was often too low in comparison with the other musicians. He had a fantastic stage presence, however, and the songs were met with shouted lyrics and screams.
The desire for more alcohol was sadly met by a near-20 minute wait from an under-staffed bar with customers complaining about watereddown drinks. A trip to the food-stands between acts was worth losing the front-row position at the stage, though. For many revellers the food was one of the highlights. Buffalo burgers, mozzarella sticks and chicken wings were on offer; the pizza and potato wedges demonstrated the St Andrews ability to take something simple and make it sophisticated. The appearance of King Charles at the burger tent saw a lot of fan-girling and attempts to touch his hair.
The View provided a great set with couples swing-dancing at the back of the crowd. Despite not knowing most of their back catalogue their set followed in the same vein as King Charles with fast beats and catchy tunes.
Silver-foil blankets prevented hypothermia and sofas and benches rested dancing feet. The music was fantastic and the food was great. Naturally some people’s evenings would have been marred by the event’s incapability to cope with the sheer numbers they had advertised, but the venue, atmosphere and music made you forget, just for an evening, that you had dissertation reading in the morning.
The New Saint at the Old Course
Billed as the first black tie event of the year, and put on by The Saint’s very own business team, The New Saint at the Old Course was a really good night. This sellout event saw freshers and old hands alike dust down their suits, kilts and gowns for an evening of sophisticated debauchery. Yes, I’m biased, but here’s the run-down of why.
1. There was a taster ceilidh. Now who doesn’t love a good ceilidh? That being said, my floor length gown was not conducive to the Dashing White Sergeant, but everyone on the dance floor seemed to be having a good time. The dances were spread out, meaning that participants didn’t get too sweaty and there was a nice break for those not wanting to join in.
2. There was a magician. Radek Makar was present for the first portion of the evening, performing close-up tricks and illusions. Hailing from Poland, this hilarious self proclaimed “mentalist” really put a fun spin on the night and used cards, money and flames galore. He wandered through the assembled groups reading minds, making jewellery disappear and wowing groups.
3. There was good music: The Wee Small Hours and Matthew Raeside kept the crowds dancing all night! The Wee Small hours played a set from 21:00 and did a lively mix of covers, which all went down well. Mr DJ Man played a variety of mash ups (for example, 500 Miles crossed with Don’t Stop Believin’), and though I loved them, some did not.
As Saint editor Craig Lye pointed out: “You can’t please them all.”
My one tiny niggle with the event was the bar. The queues were long, and prices relatively expensive, but totally worth it to get the Hall of Champions as the venue. The £16 ticket price was reasonable, given that this was essentially a sell-out ball.Little touches really made the night: there was a red carpet at the door, a free cloakroom and enough seating for those whose heels were painful! I really was very impressed, given that I’d attended last year and knew that would be difficult to top. So, my final verdict? Hats off to the organisers, a great night was had by all!
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Photos: Sammi McKee and Maria Faciolince