Given that most of my friends and I are now entering our fifth year, we’ve been avoiding the majority of the Freshers’ Week festivities in favour of other crazy activities like soup-making and dissertation-researching. But amidst all the craziness, there was one event this Freshers’ that we had all decided we couldn’t miss: STARFIELDS.
Taking place on Saturday after-noon, STARFIELDS served as the un-official closing party of Freshers’ Week 2014; and, unsurprising given that it was a party hosted by one of the biggest societies in St Andrews, FS, it did not disappoint.
Last year saw FS revive their legendary festival-inspired party. However this year, organisers opted to change both the time and the location of the event; from a night-time party in the middle of a field, to a day time bash located much closer to home on our very own Lower College Lawn.
The venue change worked well, with Lower College Lawn looking different to anything I’d ever seen there before. Gazebos that hosted the bars were skirted around the edge of the grass, leaving lots of space for people to gather and chat in true festival style.
Whilst the new set up was interesting, the focal point of the venue was undoubtedly the large, armadillo-shaped tent which housed the main stage and engulfed half of the grass. I later spoke to one of the event organisers who explained that it was the first time that a St Andrews event had used an armadillo tent. (NB: ‘armadillo tent’ is definitely not the proper name, but I had this conversation very late in the evening and can’t seem to recall the actual name through my G&T-induced haze).
In addition to the spacious bars and armadillo tent (still can’t remember), there were plenty of food stalls serving up kebabs, burgers and mexican dishes dotted around to keep revellers going throughout the six hour long party. Whilst I didn’t manage to sample these myself, the various cuisines on offer meant that queues were minimal, and reports were that the food was generally very good.
What I’d argue didn’t work so well, was the timing of the event. The proposed 4 pm start was seemingly ignored, and after having received multiple snapchats of a very empty lawn, my friends and I opted to carry on pre-drinking at home for another few hours.
On our arrival, it transpired that the majority of students had chosen to do the same, as the event was barely half full when we arrived at 6 pm – two hours after doors opened. That said, within 45 minutes, the crowd had doubled in size and before long the whole venue was packed with bodies all surging towards the two long bars. I was actually very impressed that, perhaps owing to the new layout of the event, the bar and queues throughout the night moved relatively quickly.
Additionally, opening up the back of School II meant that queues for the bathrooms moved quickly – even for the ladies – so the evening’s flow (so to speak) wasn’t interrupted and everyone was able to focus solely on enjoying themselves and not getting grumpy spending their evening in various queues.
Given that it was supposed to be a festival, the music had to be on top form; and it was. Six acts performed throughout the day: Saunit, Bade Records, Tudor Lion, Model Airplanes, Neon Jungle, and the headline act of the event, BBC Radio One DJ, Nick Grimshaw.
As I’ve said before, music is not my forté and I’d be lying if I said that I really even noticed the first four acts come and go. That said, those who are into music seemed to really enjoy the variety of sounds blasting out from the main stage. The two acts I actually did recognise, Neon Jungle and Nick Grimshaw, really got the crowds going, although this could be in part because they were the last two acts to perform.
As the evening drew to a close and with upbeat Top 40 hits luring everyone away from the bar and onto the dance-floor, there was a carefree and lively atmosphere in the armadillo tent. For event organisers, the highlight of the evening would undoubtedly have been hearing Nick Grimshaw shout out to the screaming crowd that STARFIELDS had been his “favourite gig of 2014 so far”.
The early 10 pm finish, which was supposedly designed to drive business back into the town, actually served as nothing more than an awkward break for gathering friends back together before heading to parties which popped up throughout town.
All in all, I’d say that STARFIELDS 2014 was a huge success. The change of location and chilled vibe made it the perfect end to a crazy Freshers’ Week and wave goodbye to the summer. Definitely worth skipping a night of soup-making for.