Despite the forecast of less-than-ideal weather, we all boarded our respective buses and headed to Errol Park Estate for this year’s Charity Polo event. I arrived a little early, and the first thing I noticed (it’s 11:30am, so obviously snack time) was the food selection. I was really pleased with the selection — the event had something for all tastes in addition to foods we cannot typically find in St Andrews. I did notice, after my second trip to the food trucks (I first got a falafel bowl, followed by steak frites, since you asked), that most of the guests were lining up for St Andrews-staple Blackhorn, causing me to question (be disappointed in) St Andrews students’ lack of culinary curiosity.
But as this is not the time or place for me to judge St Andrews’ diversity, culinary or otherwise, let’s move on.
I appreciate that despite the tiers of tickets available, the view of the polo tournament equally nice for Classic, VIP and VVIP ticket holders, fulfilling an earlier promise to make the tournament as accessible as possible. People could easily move between VVIP, VIP, Classic, admittedly only in that order, without feeling too segregated.
The unsung hero of this event was the seating (at least for VIP and VVIP). Thank God that for one St Andrews event that demands heels of me, I received plenty of seating in return. Thank you, Polo Committee, for thinking of us and our feet, even if we had to consider ourselves Very Important People to have said seating.
I decided to flit around the grounds to see if I could ascertain how others were experiencing the event. In the preview for this event, I spoke with a couple of the committee members about how the tournament fits into St Andrews overall, socially, and culturally. I chatted with a few people around the flower wall (they really know their demographic — an Instagrammable flower wall was a popular spot) to see if that held true.
One pos-grad described the tournament as “the most St Andrews event I’ve ever been to,” citing the ambiance, the alumni and sponsors it attracted, and the hierarchy of the tickets.
Different ticket holders did seem to have a different perception of the event.
“Why am I paying six pounds for a glass of Bouvet?”, commented one second-year, double wielding champagne glasses that she may or may not been holding for a friend. VIP did come with a few drink tokens, but once those ran out, the bar was not always pleasing to all budgets. A few people lamented the loss of bottle privileges (throw champagne bottles and there will be consequences, kids).
Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. Sitting around with friends drinking and eating for several hours are all St Andrews staples, and the added interest of experiencing the biggest polo tournament in Scotland made for a great way to spend the Saturday before revision week.