Photo: On The Rocks

What Is On The Rocks?

A look into the largest student run arts festival in the UK.

Maybe you’ve recently been bombarded by Facebook posts promoting On The Rocks. Perhaps you acted in a show during the festival last year, or maybe the only thing you think of when you hear “On The Rocks” is how you like your whiskey. Whatever your understanding may be, this article hopes to shed light one some aspects of the festival you may be unaware of.

On The Rocks is the largest student-run arts festival in the UK and happens to take place in our lovely St Andrews bubble. The annual festival offers an array of artistic events, letting students and St Andrews residents define what “art” means to them – whether that be a photo exhibition or smashing crockery into pieces in order to make a sculpture. From comedy to food and fashion, there is something for everyone. This year will be On The Rocks’ ninth year running, and will offer ten days of exciting events from 13th March to 9th April.

The Festival garners immense support from the community. Last year Jannetta’s Gelateria even offered their own On The Rocks ice cream flavour. Other sponsors included beloved St Andrews businesses like Spoiled Hairdressing, Blackhorn, Balaka, Kirk Wynd Kilt Hire, Eden Mill and the Students’ Association. The Festival’s patrons include notable names such as Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Sean Connery, Joanna Lumley, Crispin Bonham-Carter, Simon Pegg, Siobhan Redmond, and Andy Serkis.

Each year offers an eclectic spread of events. Some of the most popular shows from last year included George Orwell’s Animal Farm and The Just So Society’s production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Animal Farm was put on at Balgove Larder and offered dinner along with the sold-out show. Hedwig cast a different actor each night, offering three completely different interpretations of the same show.

For those looking for a more casual representation of art, Music is Love teamed up with On The Rocks for Music Cafés last year. The relaxed atmosphere in the Old Union Café allowed for lovely music in a very calm environment. In addition to this, the Festival hosted an Indian Independent Film Week for those interested in films depicting themes of politics, women’s rights and LGBT issues. These various events prove that art can take place in multiple forms and in various venues.

The Festival is successful not only because it draws a huge crowd but because of the events that it supports. Without the events, the Festival would not be possible. If you have any creative ideas, however big or small, that you think would make a great contribution to On The Rocks, you still have time to apply. Go to ontherocksfestival.com for more information. 

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