This year’s Rugby 7s afterparty was an interesting balance of differentiating itself from other events, and blending in with them. From reputation, following a day of watching teams with variably creative names compete, the afterparty is supposedly the night of the year where the bar sells more alcohol than at any other event, and the genders present are actually close to being balanced, as opposed to the traditionally overwhelming female majority. In both cases, I would say that these were fair opinions to take away from the 2016 incarnation.
In the first instance of differentiation from other St Andrews events, the Kinkell venue did not necessitate black tie. Instead attendees were dressed like they would be for Sinners or 601, lending the night a far more casual atmosphere than we’ve come to expect from that beloved barn. I reckon that this actually made the night more enjoyable for what it was trying to be – perhaps less effort put into one’s appearance means less pressure on the event itself? However, this may be because I’ve been here too long, but all the Kinkell events are starting to blend together now. It doesn’t detract from one’s enjoyment of parties and balls held there, but distinct memories of it become harder to retain.
That being said, the other factor in retaining memories is the availability of the bar, and in this 7s was absolutely great. While Kinkell itself felt completely rammed with people, whether by bar staff efficiency, or better organisation, getting a drink never took long enough to grumble. That whole aspect, traditionally a lightning rod for criticism, was not at all problematic. Similarly, the buses seemed to be managed very smoothly. At the time, it’s irritating to be mandated onto a bus by 10pm, latest, but it ends up lengthening the night, giving one enough time to really settle into the event.
Music wise, there was a decent blend on offer, from DJ FLO, DJ Joe Jones, and techno act Tek-Yes. The main act was returning St Andrean band Sunta und die Klauses, which served as a reminder that live music is still unsurpassable as party entertainment. There were a couple of moments in which, even in a drunken state, one questioned the song choices; like, is this the best time for a rendition of Adele’s ‘Hello’? Overall, though, all the music seemed to go down very well with the attendees, packed into the dancefloor.
I can’t say that I ultimately left with particularly strong feelings about the 7s afterparty. It was memorable for the fresh faces of the out-of-towners and more casual vibe, but besides that, it was simply a competently managed event in Kinkell. Considering how much trouble other events have with achieving that though, perhaps the organisers are due more credit for allowing their guests to determine the quality of their night, rather than having it be hampered by administrative aspects beyond their control. Either way, 7s, from the start of the day, to the end of the night, was a solid experience.