Last Thursday night saw the successful first appearance of what will hopefully become an annual event, a night of great music, amazing art, and surprising style. Szentek was a bet, mainly because of its innovative nature for the context of St Andrews, but we can certainly say that it was a winning one.
Talking to its creator, Charley Drover, she told me that the inspiration for the ‘ruin bar’ theme came both from experiencing Budapest’s nightlife and a desire she had to recreate the atmosphere of Glasgow, her hometown. The event intended to stimulate the senses all round through visual art (which also involved a giant screen showing selected movies non-stop), food provided by Ludo & Lolo’s Crêperie and Toro Tapas, and of course music, with two sound zones and many genres, even the more “eccentric” ones. The event also featured an extraordinary main guest: the internationally famous DJ Wankelmut. The location, Kinkell Byre, served as a blank canvas painted by the creative team with amazing “junk art” installations (many Trump faces included).
One of the main concerns behind the organisation of the event was that of generating an environment in which all the participants could feel comfortable and totally free to express themselves from every point of view, a space beyond any conventional type of beauty or stereotype. The dress code was literally “no dress code,” miles away from the typical St Andrean “black tie” events. All these factors explain the choice of the three words in this article’s title, used by Drover to capture the essence of Szentek, an essence which shone through the amazing vibes of the night.
In terms of outfits, there were no particular expectations. Given carte blanche, people came up with all sorts of looks, and nothing was too much or too little. Someone opted for a casual t-shirt, jeans, sneakers, maybe with a vintage touch given by one of those 90’s track jackets with vibrant colour-matching. Some girls wore heels, others light up shoes (certainly impossible not to notice), and this is enough to understand that the easy-going nature of the night let people pick their outfits in complete freedom.
The result of this freedom was outstanding, precisely because of the variety and creativity of people possible to admire, a great reflection of self-expression through fashion. In this sense, many felt it was the right occasion to be more daring, maybe drawing inspiration from their past festival looks, as they wore literally whatever they wanted: a kilt and poncho combo, fleece pyjamas pants (personal favourites of mine) and feathers, see-through bodysuits and lace bras, fishnets stockings and leopard prints…
The list could go on forever, but the point is that, contrary to many other events in St Andrews, Szentek made people feel free to be whoever they wanted, whether themselves or a more awkward and crazy version of it. It let everyone escape the mass, be bold and fearless, forget how small this town is and for few hours pretend to be in Budapest, or even Berlin. For a night, there was no room for critical judgements, because the space was fully filled with such beautiful, provocative, human art.