Starfields 2015: highs and lows

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Photo: FS committee
Photo: FS committee

From The Tribe to The Stand, Starfields was previewed amongst numerous student publications as the “not to be missed” event of Freshers’ Week. The prognosis was clear: Starfields was going to be unforgettable. Yet, last Thursday, the most highly anticipated event of the week created uproar amongst the student population; to say they were unhappy would be an understatement. With Starfields attendees demanding their money back on the popular app – Yik Yak –, followed by a scathing review in The Tribe of the five reasons why the event disappointed, the aftermath of the concert quickly took its toll on the SF committee’s reputation. Yet with such high expectations, could Starfields ever really live up to its hype?

Has the recent critique of SF been fair? No. Though it can be said that Starfields 2015 could be summarized with the following: what could go wrong went wrong. From disastrous oversights to uncomfortable hiccups, the SF committee did not have an easy night. What should’ve run smoothly became the source of much distress amongst eager attendees, quickly turning the mood sour. Nevertheless, not all were fazed by the long-queues, the disagreeable entry, or the disordered dance floor. Scores of happy – albeit inebriated – students could be seen throughout the venue, pleased with the impressive energy of the various acts.

In spite of the concert’s successful line-up – an undoubtedly impressive feat on part of the committee – its flaws must be addressed. For instance, entering the festival became directly violent, with students pushing and shoving one another in an attempt to get through to Lower College Lawn. Whether this was a result of a general lack of etiquette amongst all-too-eager event-goers, or if it was simply what tends to occur at concerts, is unclear. The security guards spread around at various points of the entrance were unable to calm the crowd, haphazardly yelling at a number of seemingly troublesome attendees. This was not effective. In retrospect, the entrance should’ve been organized in multiple rows, like at most concerts. Over 2000 students cannot all squeeze through one opening. This oversight was not only embarrassingly reckless on part of the committee, but, quite frankly, dangerous.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that this was not an issue at last year’s event. With an increase of only 100 or so attendees this year, the troubles at the entrances were unforeseeable. This is not to say that SF should not be held accountable, but rather that this oversight was not entirely incomprehensible. However, it was clear that this hiccup put most attendees in a mood before the event eventually began. Shaken and slightly bruised, herds of students made their way to Lower College Lawn, gathering around the bar and the various food trucks. Girls attempting to re-create Coachella fashion could be seen sprawled along the lawn, drinks-in-hand, waiting for the acts to take the stage. As the crowd grew impatient, so did the queue to the bar, further damaging the Starfields atmosphere. As the event’s shortcomings became more evident throughout the night, the fabric holding the rest of the show together slowly began to fall apart. With rumours of the main act having cancelled, many left the event early.

[pullquote]Starfields could be summarised with the following: what could go wrong went wrong.[/pullquote]

Yet with the beginning of Nora en Pure’s performance, the event quickly turned around. The venue itself – a massive white tent – had a jaw-dropping effect on first-timers. This, combined with the striking lighting and effects set up around the stage, was undoubtedly impressive, particularly for a student-run event. Though Nora en Pure’s performance certainly outshined the others, Alex Adair and LEXER only added to their energy of the previous acts. The highlight of the night, however, was undoubtedly Klingande. Interacting with the crowd from the very start, the artist brought attendees on stage, creating a fun vibe for everyone involved. For the first time, Starfields became reminiscent of the music festivals so many of us attend throughout the summer.

Ultimately, however, the source of Starfields’ shortcomings lay in that the concert itself became a backdrop to the unbearable mess of the rest of the venue. Though the event could easily have been a success, the mood of the attendees only compounded initial flaws. One thing is certain: hungry and sober St Andrews students can be quite merciless. Without the comfort of effortlessly available food and drink, the crowd grew bitter and forgot about the great musicians performing. This said, Starfield’s failure was both the fault of the committee, as well as of the ever-so hard to please St Andrews students.

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