Photo courtesy of Natasha Currie.

Szentek’s Moving Castle – Reviewed

Natasha reviews Szentek’s Moving Castle at Mains Castle in Dundee.

Whoever had the idea to start hosting daytime student events, I give you all of my love. The pace is different, the excitement is different, and the entire situation deviates you from your schedule in exactly the way you need. Szentek’s Moving Castle on April 6th fell at the perfect time this year. With classes officially wrapping up for the academic year the day before, I was craving an outlet to pour a semester’s worth of worries, tensions, and general anxieties into.

The venue’s grounds of Mains Castle in Dundee were well utilised and the event spilled neatly through the space. The entrance to the castle gave way to a small chill out area, then a corner with people offering face painting and tooth gems looking onto a small DJ set under quilted tarpaulin where student regulars played. The courtyard area was transformed through the usual Szentek art installations; painted sheets in bright colour, CD strings reflecting the light and dreamcatchers hooked on trees. Szentek always put the utmost effort into the design element of their events, whether Mains Castle, The Rule, or The Vic – the same artistic stamp is sealed firmly on each venue.

Photo courtesy of Natasha Currie.

 The sun peeked its head out at us for a brief moment. In Scotland, a rare occurrence and during April, it becomes a sign of change. You could feel the hinges of spring starting to oil up with the heat in the air. Whether it was intentional or not, I also loved the Szentek petting zoo… Outside there was a little fenced off garden with a Wendy house, and at one point four little dogs popped out to say hello – hopefully not too disturbed by the goings on around them! I spent quite some time by the fence, awwing love at them like the basic girl I unashamedly am. 

 

Photo courtesy of Natasha Currie.

The line up this year, as in Szentek’s past events, had a mix of styles within the world of funky fusion and rhythmic beats. One of my personal favourite sets came from The Prosecco Boys, a subset of Wax Rooms Collective. When asked about the creative process, Van Lambie stated that ‘After a 2-week IV drip Prosecco blackout we emerged with the most miraculously perfectly crafted set for that precise moment.’ And that they did. On a more serious note, Lambie followed up by saying that for himself and The Prosecco Boys, “it’s about finding a midpoint between what I want to hear and what I know will give people the most euphoric enjoyable experience. We try to build peaks of celebration that collapse back down and then do that again and again and again.”

Breaking tradition with other UK festivals and their heteronormative, male heavy line-ups, Szentek had a queer female headlining act. Taahliah brought smooth professionalism into the main tent, showcasing the strong grounding she has within the Glasgow music scene. Hailing from Kilmarnock (also my Mum’s hometown, only the best!) and spending time in Glasgow studying art and creating music, Taahliah’s style and influence in Scotland is always growing. In an 2022 interview with NOTION magazine, Taahliah comments on her own goals, saying “I want to be able to push boundaries and I want to offer something new and I think that’s done correctly through not intentionally doing it. I’m just here to make music and to have people respond to the music.” Having won an award at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards and received a nomination for the BBC Scottish Artist of the Year award, it is clear she is indeed pushing boundaries and heading somewhere big. I am glad she stopped off at Szentek on her way!

Photo courtesy of Natasha Currie

The work that goes into an event of this scale is very intricate. Ben Sanders, Head of Music, states ‘The venues Szentek typically work with are very bare bones – like with the Silo, all we had was electricity.’ It was very clear that a lot of effort had gone into the logistics; however, the lack of free water and later on in the evening, lack of water itself, was a bit of a downside. At previous events, having a water station was very successful and it would have been nice to have this replicated at the Castle.

Photo courtesy of Natasha Currie

Ben (whilst other people are doing the not so fun jobs like ordering portaloos) is dealing with the artist’s experience as well as the audience’s, aiming to bridge the gap between the two and run a successful event for both parties. This year’s Szentek was potentially one of the best line-up wise for me, and it was great to see Scottish artists from different backgrounds represented on stage. I came away with some new Spotify rabbit-holes to fall down and a distinct sense that my friends and I had had a fun loving time.  We should all escape to the Castle with Szentek next year – it’s worth it, I promise! 

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146 thoughts on “Szentek’s Moving Castle – Reviewed

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