St Andrews has a widely known reputation for a lacking nightlife scene, with those outside the bubble viewing our nights out as small, cosseted and drab. Events like Szentek are a rejection of this reputation and a reminder of the diversity of events and opportunities that persist in this small town. They are an assurance that there really is something for everyone, as well as a boundary breaker and a pusher of limits.
This year’s opening event for Szentek was held in a St Andrews’ favourite venue: The Rule, where the beer flows aplenty, and food is cheap. This event saw its typically sober surroundings transformed into a haze of music and trippy artwork that is at the fore-front of what Szentek represents.
The students were crammed into the back room of the rule, with speakers and DJ desk backed against the wall so that the full boom of the base could permeate the room, forcing people to squeeze through a narrow entrance in order to get to the dance floor. The effect of this was a somewhat claustrophobic sense of euphoria where enjoyment of the dance music was mingled with the pleasure of accidentally dancing into various people you know or know vaguely.
Szentek thrives both in open planned and close-knit venues; whether it sees guests crammed into a small environment meant for an intimate and intense dance-floor, or huge space such as Kinkell Byre, the beats provided by the Szentek crew always strike the right note.
The description offered on Facebook is scarily accurate looking back: ‘Transformed with junk art and video installations to transport you approximately 1,526.4 miles to the ruin bars of Budapest, we promise you a sensory extravaganza of sound, sweat, and visual gluttony.’ Gluttony, here, is the correct word. The visceral effect was achieved to the extent that you felt as if you were interred within the belly of a giant musical beast. Having never personally visited the ‘ruin bars of Budapest’, I now have a very vivid picture of what they must be like, and whilst I probably wouldn’t elect to spend all my time in such establishments, being transported to one for a single night proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The actual music consisted of E C L E C T, Max Dupa and of course Bessel, who took the set through from 0:45 to 02:00. The event did exactly what it set out to do, providing only a taste of what the main event at Kinkell Byre will have to offer. This reviewer will certainly be attending.