Nothing quite signals the approaching summer like the end of classes. This is perhaps why Saturday was the ideal time for the festival-inspired Under Canvas. Clear skies and warmer temperatures, dissertations done, and cares alleviated; the ingredients for a good night were all in place. With a stellar line-up combining student and international acts – and a festival-esque setting complete with brilliantly atmospheric lighting- the Under Canvas team did not disappoint.
With the move to lower college lawn, this year’s event was a much bigger affair, leaving ample room to throw some shapes. In-fact, spying some of the best dancers St Andrew’s has to offer in their natural habitat (who took the motto “#getunder” literally) was perhaps a reason in itself to attend. Alongside the main tent there were two smaller ones, a STAR chill-out zone, complete with ball pool and hanging discs, as well as one run by Music is Love. It was this mix that helped make the event so unique and it was whilst lounging outside on blankets listening to the dulcet tones of Anna Merryfield in her rendition with Josh Fuchs of “You Always Hurt the Ones of you Love”, with the main stage music pumping in the background, that the event came closest to a festival for me.
[pullquote]Spying those who took the motto “#getunder” literally was perhaps a reason in itself to attend Under Canvas[/pullquote]
Overall, I think that the Under Canvas team did a fantastic job of curating the event; local act, Wovoka Gentle, eased everybody into the evening gently with their mellow psychedelia, followed by indie trio, New Carnival. St Andrew’s own Soulpatch then upped the tempo perfectly. Horse Meat Disco had no issues maintaining the heaving dance floor with their funk and disco set complete with dance moves of their own. At the risk of being cliché I’ll admit that my favourite had to be their seemingly never-ending and irresistible cover of Chic’s Le Freak. The night finished off with Mike Mago’s house beats, leaving everyone, despite the 6 hours of live music, ready to continue wherever the rest of the night would take them.
With 5 main acts, 7 in the Music is Love tent, and 2 free drinks on entry, the concert compares favourably in terms of value of money with other St Andrean events. However, if there were to be any criticisms I think decoration could benefit from extra attention. The creation of unusual, zany settings at professional festivals can make you feel like you’ve stepped into another world and are the features that make them – well, the good ones – such special events. This is something that Under Canvas could definitely capitalise on. Nevertheless, in a town that is often derided for its conformity and where the social calendar is a full of fairly similar events, Under Canvas is adding a refreshing alternative. Their promotion of live music, particularly that of student musicians, greatly adds to its attraction. With the likes of Starfields and FFALL following suit, this is a move that I can only wholeheartedly encourage.