Just thirty minutes before guests were slated to arrive, the St Andrews Charity Fashion Show for spring 2017 was cancelled due to unsafe weather conditions.
In a statement released via the event’s official Facebook page, the FS committee expressed regret that “wind and inclement weather” caused concern for safety.
The last-minute decision to cancel was apparently made after discussing the foul weather conditions with the University, the event’s privately-hired security, and the production company in charge of the show.
A bartender working the event told The Saint that high winds caused alarm at 5:30pm and event staff were ordered to evacuate the large marquee tent on Lower College Lawn. Organisers made this decision after convening an emergency meeting to discuss weather conditions.
In a Sunday press release, an FS spokesperson explained that the decision was made at the latest possible time in order to allow the show to proceed if conditions changed. Ultimately, the committee “felt that postponing the show was the only option given the high wind levels.”
According to the Met Office, St Andrews experienced gusts of up to 37 mph on Saturday. These gusts continued well into Sunday morning.
The FS committee published no additional information after the cancellation notice, which left many of the more than 1,000 individuals expected to attend in a state of confusion and anger. On Saturday night some commenters on Facebook expressed discontent with the method and timing of the cancellation, while others applauded the committee’s decision to put safety first.
Calls for further information about a potential refund or rescheduling of the event were met with a Facebook post on the event’s official page early Sunday afternoon.
In a press release, a spokesperson for FS said rescheduling was dependent on a large number of factors. Both the Fife Council and the insurance company covering the event had to approve plans to reschedule before they could be implemented.
The same release also emphasised the committee’s dedication to resolving the problem in a fair and efficient manner.
The release stated, “We are dedicated to making this show happen, and are working tirelessly to find a solution that works for everyone. We understand guests’ frustrations and will continue to keep people informed via our Facebook page.”
Organisers were able to reschedule FS17 for the night of Tuesday 14 February. However, full refunds were still offered to guests who were unable to accommodate the new date and time.
Strict procedures were in place for ticket holders to exchange their spot. Those getting their money back were required to turn-in original wristbands and gift bags before receiving a refund.
Exceptions to these rules were made for attendees from outside of St Andrews who were unable to return to complete the process.
The FS committee also opened a second round of ticket sales to replace guests that cancelled their tickets.
Students were offered the chance to upgrade to vacant seats and purchase returned after-party tickets.