For any event there is the age old question of when to arrive. Particularly for a fashion party, how late is fashionably late? It’s the subtle art of precise timing so you don’t show up before things have even kicked off, but you also don’t miss out. We did well on this judgement, arriving at the Rusacks hotel at about 10.30pm to a foyer brimming with students, yet freebies still intact.

Initial impressions were good. The VIP area was busy and buzzing with conversation. There was a surplus of cakes and a pile of goodie bags that were soon gone. Greeted with a choice of cocktails to get you started, it had all the makings of a good night. The camera gang were out in force too. In St Andrews owning a camera really isn’t necessary when there is always someone around to take the official photos, and this was true more than ever at Dont Walk.

What if you hadn’t opted for VIP? Initially this applied to few, but it meant outright segregation. The density ratio of the small VIP bar versus the large “standard” section was huge. The same buzzing atmosphere as VIP was hard to achieve with this sparse distribution of people and, without even a social seating area, people seemed more inclined to hang out in the lobby until it filled up rather than linger in lost groups. There was also a noticeably lower level of indulgence in the standard area. Undeniably it was still a nice venue and the (somewhat minor) price difference meant lower expectations, but even the plastic cups were a step down from just next door.

What they did get here was the chance to buy the amazing Dont Walk t-shirts. Focused around the theme of anti-conflict – which, if you don’t know, is the theme for Dont Walk’s charity sponsorship this year – these were well worth the price, equivalent to that of just a drink or two. Maybe the glaringly obvious sports team in their red uniform who must have missed the memo of “dressing to impress” should have been forced to buy one and change. Well, the ones who didn’t get thrown out anyway.

It wasn’t until the night progressed and, unfortunately, a fair few had already left that things really got going. The DJs were going strong and the VIPs filtered through to form one party. Casual conversations were replaced by dance moves and the bars became increasingly popular. A shot bar supplied the crowd with the Jagerbombs they inevitably needed and another provided everything else. As well as being efficient, drinks weren’t expensive for a Friday in St Andrews and there was always the option of champagne if you were feeling flush.

1am came too soon and it was lights on. The after-party information leaked round and people moved swiftly on, with a bouncer and sound system in tow. But as it turned out the VIP segregation continued, as these were the only people allowed into the after-party. Yes, it’s not always possible to cater for all, but this was a step too far for me, as well as for the other tenants in the building who were prevented by a bouncer from entering their own home.

So was it worth it? Those in VIP had little to find fault with as this party was built for them. I danced, I drank, I socialised. But the emphasis put on VIP benefits was not for me, or for the guys who live in the afterparty building.

Photo credit: Samantha Marcus

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