What we can learn from ELAGA’s cancellation

The Issue 224 editorial praises ELAGA's effort for working to diversify the St Andrews events culture, emphasising that events culture at the University should not rely solely on balls and fashion shows.

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“I respect anyone who is willing to break the St Andrews event culture”. Those were the words of The Saint’s former Events editor George Wilder following ELAGA’s inaugural event in April of this year, and this is a sentiment that The Saint’s executive committee still agree with today.

Our lead story for this week concerns the cancellation of ELAGA for 2019 – a cancellation that will re-open a gaping hole within the St Andrews events culture.

The team behind ELAGA tried to do something different. They were acutely aware of the lack of quality music events in St Andrews, and tried to create the kind of event that students previously had to travel to Edinburgh, Glasgow or Dundee to find. To that end, they broadly succeeded. No one else has managed to bring elite-level DJs like Sigala and Rudimental to St Andrews, and £50 for a regular ticket was good value when you consider the costs.

St Andrews has consistently had a problem with the diversity of events. Outside of the occasional variation provided by the Union, the events cycle tends to be broadly the same every year with numerous balls and fashion shows cropping up intermittently throughout the year.

The town is crying out for a greater variety of events. We pride ourselves on the diversity of our student body and how that makes us special, yet most of our major events tend to only attract the same cohort of students. ELAGA attempted to break that mould and for that they should be praised.

Their event may not have evolved to become a staple fixture in the St Andrews social scene but at least they showed willing, found a niche and attempted to fulfil it. The event showed potential for future development, but following its cancellation, the St Andrews music calendar has returned to a smaller set of events.

The cancellation of ELAGA should not dissuade student enterprise; in fact this should lead to the reverse. There is a greater onus now on the rest of the student body to try and fill the gaps in the market, as well to tackle the other inclusivity and diversity issues that detract from what could otherwise be a flourishing events calendar. Although a fundamental part of the university experience here, the St Andrews events culture cannot and should not survive on balls and fashion shows alone.

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