Under Canvas 2014: Are you ready?

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For the record, I know nothing about music.

If a song isn’t in the UK Top 40, then there’s a pretty good chance I will never have heard of it. So perhaps you may think that I’m not exactly the ideal candidate to be writing a preview for a music festival – but I would disagree.

Actually, I’d argue that the fact that even I, a girl whose go-to playlist consists primarily of Katy Perry songs and Taylor Swift covers, somehow got excited talking to Under Canvas 2014 co-directors, Will Land and Val Voshchevska, demonstrates just how exciting this year’s event is set to be.

Formerly known as the Masquerade Ball, Under Canvas, which is scheduled to take place on the Saturday 19 April, made its debut just last year after organisers identified a lack of “music-centric” events in St Andrews.

Will explained: “The idea of it is a one-night festival: six hours of music, five acts.

“Throughout the night the music will transform… It will start off quite chilled out and then get progressively more intense as the night wears on.”

So does that mean no Katy Perry then?

“No, there won’t be any Katy Perry,” Will laughed. And though I’d usually be disheartened to hear that, as the pair went on to explain just what to expect music-wise, I got the sense that I probably wouldn’t be missing my sing-a-long pop much after all.

Folksy band Lights on the Mountain will be kicking things off around 8 pm, providing a chilled and unique start to the evening.

“They’re a large band [with a] really great sound. Their music is quite uplifting and powerful – you just want to dance to it. I’m really excited to see them. It’ll be a really nice way to start the night,” Will answered when asked which act he was most looking forward to.

Posed with the same question, Val responded immediately: “It’s Anushka for me, definitely.”

St Andrews’ own Moodroom Collective will be taking over mid-way through the evening, followed by some UK funky house from Ossie – Producer, before xxxy step in with some standard house to carry the crowd until the evening’s close at 2 am.

And for those of you as clueless about music as I am and confused about what all of the above actually means, rest assured that it’s basically a synonym for “lots of good music that you’ll want to dance to”.

Doors open at 7:30 pm, with Lights on the Mountain on at 8 pm, making it quite an early start for a St Andrews event.

“Definitely get there early. We want everyone to enjoy all of our acts,” Val said.

Will added: “It’s less like a ‘party-at-the-end-of-your-pre-game’ and more like a festival event. You’re going to want to attend the whole thing.”

For those less intrigued by the music and more enthused about the alcohol, it’s also worth noting that in order to receive the two free drinks tokens included in the £35 ticket price, you’ll need to be in before 9 pm. Not to mention that the first 250 people through the door will be gifted with a free beer courtesy of Under Canvas sponsors, St Andrews’ Brewing Co.

Conveniently, the event will be unfolding in the heart of town in St Mary’s Quad, meaning taxis and buses will be a far away thought for attendees.

Will said: “We’re the only event to my knowledge that is actually held in St Mary’s Quad and it’s a really exciting venue. We’re going to light the big tree up and the buildings, too. It will have a really cool atmosphere.”

While the majority of tickets have already been sold, as capacity has in- creased this year, jumping from 500 to 650 people, Will and Val assured me that the remainder of the tickets would be released in the coming weeks. Those who missed out on tickets will thus have another chance to get in on the gig, so to speak.

Will explained: “I think you’ll get two types of people going. There’ll be those who are going because they’ve heard of the acts and they like the music and then you’ll get those who are going because it’s such a different event and it’ll be good fun. There’s no other event in St Andrews like it.”

But with the annual Rugby 7’s tournament after-party taking place on the same night, are the pair worried attendance at Under Canvas will take a hit?

Not at all – [both events] have always been on the same night,” replied Val nonchalantly.

“I think we just have a different crowd that we appeal to.”

It’s also worth remembering that all proceeds raised by Under Canvas will be going towards their chosen charity, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a cause close to the hearts of the committee, who have been raising money for the charity for a number of years.

“We started the event for this cause, and we are not going to change the charity,” Val said.

Will added: “What makes Under Canvas so unique is the fact that it’s universal in nature and that there’s nothing exclusive about it – it’s just one ticket for everyone. There is no VIP; everyone is the same.

“It’s just a relaxed fun party. There’s not any element of the event that’s pretentious.”

With great music, a good cause and equality for all at its heart, why wouldn’t you be excited about this unique event? So throw some flowers in your hair, grab your friends and get ready to spread the love at St Andrews’ “only music festival”: Under Canvas 2014.

For more information about all things Under Canvas, including information regarding ticket sales and how to get involved with next year’s committee, visit them at staundercanvas.com or check out their exclusive video on The Saint’s Facebook page.

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