The Bell Pettigrew Sessions was a free collaborative event between MUSA and Music is Love, it took place – as the more perceptive reader might have garnered – at the Bell Pettigrew Museum in St. Mary’s Quad, just off of South Street. Surrounded by colourful taxidermy birds, large skeletal forms, and various other curiosities, I personally have always enjoyed the museum as a venue for talks and other such events; however, in discussion with other St Andrews students, some expressed distaste at the large collection of formerly living animals affixed to the walls – a valid criticism. Beyond that, though well suited for small discussions or presentations, the Bell Pettigrew Museum – a large, high ceilinged open space divided up by islands of glass displays – has the acoustics of, well, a large, high ceilinged open space. This is to say that though it might be a nice environment, the Bell Pettigrew Museum is your standard echo-filled museum which, subsequently, made the performances sound a bit like amateur attempts at creating a 1960s Wall of Sound. Unless a blurry and indistinct sound was desired, an alternative set up or a change in venue might be beneficial.
The first performance began at five after 19:00 and ended near the half hour, after this however, there was a ten minute break before the next set which, though great if you wanted to purchase a drink from the cash-only bar – something they encouraged ad nauseum –, was a bit excessive. Having to leave at 20:00, I was present for only one and a quarter of a the three sets that were to be performed that night. If you are really into local musicians then an event lasting more than an hour might not be an issue, but otherwise longer events such as these can be incompatible with approaching deadlines and other student commitments. While I was there, approximately twenty-two students and residents were present, which is a decent showing; I however will unlikely be in this crowd next year.