Photo: Megan Woolley

Szentek: St Andrews Meets Budapest

Chiara Wilkinson reviews the ruin.

On Thursday night, Kinkell Byre was transformed into a ruin-bar inspired utopia of art and techno goodness. Following the success of 2016’s debut, its popular “Electric Launch-aloo”event and sell out status (not to mention the plethora of memes and quirky gifs released via the Facebook event page as the hyped date drew nearer), expectations were high for what promised to be a continuation of “the new eclectic and underground experience for St Andrews.”

Before even entering indoors, the distinctive atmosphere of the evening was established as guests were greeted by fire performers when they left the buses. Inside, the rustic space of Kinkell proved to be an effective venue which was utilised to its full potential. The Szentek team did an amazing job of arranging original student artworks, handpainted sheets and re-worked tapestries on the walls. Seemingly random items such as parachutes were suspended from the ceiling in addition to the usual fairy lights, as well as colourful flags and innovative installations made out of household items like coat hangers and a banner which importantly reminded guests to “stay hydrated.”

szentek kinkel party
Photo: Megan Woolley

Ahead of reaching the dance floor, guests were greeted with a variety of amusements. Entertainers on tall stilts paraded the floor and posed for photos with their delighted onlookers, a henna table was set up in the back corner offering body paint, and last years “cinema” was reincarnated: this year as two separate screens, one projecting under water clips of sea creatures in front of inflatable bean bags, proving a popular destination for those who wanted a break from the dance floor or a gossip. Melt in the mouth candifloss and Toro’s spanish omelette scran satisfied the bellies of boogie-ers who were lucky enough to scoop up the free food. And to the guests relief, the toilet and cloakroom queues were arguably well managed in comparison to Welly Ball the weekend before – the whole set up appeared to be effectively thought out and free flowing.

In line with the artsy decorations, the attendees did not fail to showcase their waviest garms. Bright retro sports bombers, glittery cheekbones, baggy trousers and groovy sunglasses (sesh-goggles?) were abundant. However, the main highlight of the event was obviously the music. St Andrews based DJs – Content, Max Dupa, and Reclude – kickstarted the night before welcoming Damiano von Erckert to the decks whose set was a definite crowd pleaser, playing a fusion of house, soul, and techno. As the crowd filled up, smoke machines flowed and dancers began to glisten with sweat as Berlin-based headliner Palms Trax provided a highly successful end to the night.

szentek party rave kinkell
Photo: Megan Woolley

In the more intimate Room 2, Edinburgh and Glasgow based Capri Collective pulled an equally good show, mixing original techno beats with crowd favourites such as classic dance anthem “Ride on Time.” The smoke, strobes, and crazy freestyle dancing contributed to the euphoric atmosphere yielded by the flock of energetic party-goers. Chris Murray from Capri commented on their first time playing in St Andrews, describing the crowd as “absolutely fantastic, and so enthusiastic,” and commenting on the experience as a whole: “It’s a huge production in such a cool venue – Szentek have done awfully well.”

Event organiser Will Abell shared his own thoughts about Szentek 2017: “The event went really well, everything came together beautifully. The DJs were top blokes, both lovely, and both dropped absolutely whopping sets. We were trying to achieve a club night with fun decorations and I’m pretty sure we did that. The music was great, the place looked great, the whole event was sensational, if I do say so myself.”

Despite the debatably hefty price tag, with tickets reaching £37 at final release, it was undeniable that Szentek proved to be special night yet again. Even for those perhaps less familiar with techno music, the higher cost was justifiable simply for the opportunity to experience a unique side of St Andrews nightlife. The event has shown ever growing potential – with its listing on Resident Advisor taking it from a student organised St Andrews night at Kinkell to a recognised host of upcoming names in the dance genre. It has certainly found its place in filling the gap for a more care-free event, catering to those students who might want a break from the more pretentious black tie events which are synonymous with St Andrews – bring on 2018.

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