ELAGA have cancelled their planned event for 2019 and the group will no longer be organising events within St Andrews.
ELAGA was a creative art and music festival run independently by students at the University of St Andrews.
The news was confirmed to The Saint in a statement last week, with ELAGA’s executive committee citing that as fourth years they needed to “put [their] academics first”.
ELAGA, according to their statement, made the decision to cancel shortly after this year’s Freshers Fayre, which took place on Sunday 16 September.
The ELAGA committee for 2019, who were elected in May of this year, had a stall at the Fayre and gave out flyers promoting next year’s event. They also opened applications for Freshers Representative positions, but these remained unfilled before the decision to cancel was made.
Despite the decision to cancel being made more than a month ago, the ELAGA executive team made no public statement of their decision to cancel and their Facebook and Instagram accounts were subsequently taken down.
At the time of going to press (Monday 5 November), the ELAGA Twitter account, @elagastandrews, is still active, although their website has also been deactivated.
Citing the lateness of their decision to cancel, ELAGA’s executive team said they felt it “unnecessary to create additional fanfare” by publicly posting the news on social media.
In an interview with The Saint earlier this year, ELAGA labelled themselves “a social enterprise” and said they wanted to fill a gap in the St Andrews market for music events, aiming to provide students with something to “get honestly excited about, something that they just haven’t experienced before.”
ELAGA’s committee also openly set out to be different – “When people say, ‘Oh I’m going to FS, I’m going to Dont Walk, May Ball, I’m going to Polo, Szentek. We want something so people think ‘Oh wow maybe I should reconsider’: it’s spontaneous.”
They added, “We once had the genuine idea to fly a plane. We considered getting a plane to fly a banner that says ELAGA on it. However, apparently Leuchars has rules for flying because they’re an airfield. We said at the time, is this going to be a problem with the military? The fact is that we consider everything and nothing’s immediately shot down.”
Last year’s debut event took place at Craigtoun Country Park, approximately 20 minutes outside of St Andrews, as the ELAGA team wanted to make use of an under-utilised venue and maximise the unique appeal of the event.
Lasting a little over eight hours, the event took place on Saturday 7 April with tickets retailing at £50, or £100 for VIPs.
In the run-up to the event, ticket sales were opened up to external students outside of St Andrews and prices were lowered, leading to some disgruntlement amongst students who had paid the original ticket prices in full.
Headlining the event were best-selling DJs Sigala and Rudimental, whilst the event also boasted numerous food stands as well as art and film installations.
Other events on the main stage included Codeko and VISEN & Friends, while smaller acts performed in the VIP Lounge. There was also a post-ELAGA after-party that took place at the Students’ Union in Dundee.
The event itself received broadly mixed reviews, with many praising the originality of the event and the quality of the music acts.
However, there was also criticism of the bus services provided and the lack of hot tubs and massages as promised initially to VIP ticket holders.
In his review of the event, The Saint’s former Events editor George Wilder said, “the execution of ELAGA has caused it to become the very thing it mocked for so long. A party with a massive price-tag.”
The review by The Courier’s Craig Smith was more positive however, labelling the event “one of the biggest outdoor festivals of its kind ever seen in St Andrews.” It also noted that the event organisers should have been “more than happy with the fruits of their labour.”