For the third year in a row, Szentek has successfully brought some of the world’s finest DJs to shake up St Andrews. Once again held in Kinkell Byre, the Szentek team converted the rustic space of an old barn into a remote and intimate subterranean basement. With the critically acclaimed Swedish DJ Kornél Kovács listed to headline the event, this year’s Szentek festival was destined to provide an opportunity to escape the everyday, luring guests in with the magnetic beats of funk, disco, house and techno.
Unlike last year, guests were not welcomed by fire performers and circus entertainers, but rather a tame light display from the third stage, spied through thick cigarette smoke whilst waiting in a queue for the cloakroom. Fortunately, to everyone’s relief this proved to be well-managed, shuffling guests quickly into the much-anticipated venue.
Carrying on their tradition, the Szentek team once again decorated the space with student-made art, with an eclectic bundle of tapestries hanging from both the ceilings and walls. These ranged from more traditional tribal patterns to caricatures and satire, and were set at the perfect height to quickly grab a ‘gram with a fabulous background. In Room 2, homemade lanterns adorned the ceiling, with the space more reminiscent of a planetarium than a renovated barn. The famous ‘cinema’ was likewise brought back, off to the side of the main dance floor, however it offered only a conga line of mismatched plastic chairs. A second cinema off Room 2 offered a chill-out zone, yet only had two cushions and an out of place mattress. Despite this, these spaces proved to be much relief for those who needed an escape from the heaving dance floor.
Although the venue’s decorations may have been rather sparse in areas, the attendees more than compensated. Sequins seemed to be the outfit of the night, reflecting the light in all directions, the effect intensified by an abundance of glittering cheekbones. Sparkling footwear, glow sticks and sesh goggles also proved to be a massive hit, lighting up the dance floor through the smoke and strobe lights. One guy even arrived in an outfit more appropriate to a ski slope than a rave. The partygoers did not disappoint in the variety and creativity of their outfits, breaking free from the restraints of St Andrean black tie events.
As always, the highlight of the night proved to be the music. This year was the first time the Szentek team introduced a third stage, hosting student DJs Disco Volante, Wax Collective and Szentek Soundsystem. Even from the get-go, the music was pumping at all three stages, drawing crowds onto the dance floors from 9pm. Particularly popular was the saxophonist Theo Jobst accompanying Jute City Jam, who lured a considerable throng onto the floor, kick-starting the hypnotic beats. Many partygoers clamoured for more, saying this rare performance was the highlight of night.
Once again, Szentek tickets carried a considerable price tag, with the standard ticket price at £30. On top of this, warning about the cash-only bar was released barely an hour before the official start of the night, and many were walking to or on the bus by the time they viewed this notice. Despite this, in comparison to the price of the majority of Kinkell-held charity events – not to mention the talented headliners – the price was more than worth it, with Kornél Kovács and Chaos in the CBD leaving no space for disappointment. Wholeheartedly, Szentek once again electrified St Andrews and with proceeds going to the children’s charity Variety Scotland, it has proved to be a stellar fixture on the University’s event calendar.