After lots of hype and very little information, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Dont Walk this year. My advice? DONT WALK: don’t go. At least not to the after party.
From the outset, the evening had shaky foundations. Rumours surrounding a change of venue circulated the town, with DW committee members keeping quiet about the evening’s whereabouts. Disguised as an attempt to keep things mysterious, I suspect that the real reason the event’s location was kept secret was to cover up how ridiculously far away it was. To quote one attendee: “I’m pretty sure I could see Edinburgh Castle from the bus”. After around 30 minutes journey-time, I arrived at the venue for the evening, The Bowhouse.
Now, I’ll admit that I’m no events planner, but if you’re going to stage an evening in what is essentially a glorified shed, in Scotland, in March, then heating should probably be high up on the list of priorities. I can’t imagine that the cloakroom made very much money, given that few people actually took off their jackets during the evening. Still, on a more positive note, the glacial conditions did bring out the chivalrous side in some of St Andrews’ gents as plenty of suit jackets and blazers were honourably wrapped around shivering females.
The icy weather made for an icy atmosphere, with guests struggling to lift their spirits in the bleak and decoration-less venue. The bar area, which was moderately busy at 11 pm, was virtually devoid of any signs of life by midnight. Even on the dance floor the crowd began to thin quickly when people became aware that no amount of alcohol or dancing could keep them warm.
With nothing else to occupy uncomfortable and annoyed guests, buses back to the distant St Andrews filled up quickly. Unsurprisingly, the long and cumbersome return journey was no more lively, with one student calling it “the most subdued, sad affair”.
I can’t speak for show attendees, who were also given access to VIP areas and some ‘free’ alcohol, but for guests who only attended the after-party, tickets to the disappointing event, which were priced at £20, were terrible value for money.
DONT WALK thrives on its über-exclusive and mysteriously edgy image, but judging by last night’s sub-standard event, it would seem that some mysteries are better left unsolved. I would far rather have spent my evening in the library –at least it’s warm in there.