Starfields is the first event of the academic year for St Andrews Charity Fashion Show (FS). A six-hour music festival (with a few welcome extras) held outside in Lower College Lawn, it always stands as one of the most hotly anticipated events of the year for new and returning students.
Starfields operates as a well-oiled machine. All of the individual pieces of the event, essentially a music festival, were well managed and presented beautifully. The FS committee seemed to take constructive criticism from previous years very well, responding to past complaints of unmanageable queues, tickets not being worth the forty or so pounds, and unease of overall attendance. This year, I, at least, found it easy to get in and out of the event, despite the masses of attendees who poured in throughout the night.
This doesn’t strike me as an easy feat; I’ve seen several balls have a difficult time managing hoards of drunk ticket-holders coming in or going out. The venue was well staffed from each possible entrance, and though it was a bit of a long slog getting from the entrance to the academic quad to Lower College Lawn itself, the staff was overall pleasant, patient, and directions were clear.
The bar was central, and manned by staff on every side. I didn’t see or hear complaints about wait times for drinks and no one seemed particularly agitated in this regard, certainly speaking to the professional staff and the way the venue was organised. The sides and corners of the venue were filled with more traditionally “music festival” apparatus, and despite the intensity of the crowds and the expected queues for flower crowns, face paint, and food, the variety of stalls ensured that nothing took or seemed too long. It wasn’t overly packed (I’ve been to balls that have been far more cramped) and was clearly well planned. Guests seemed to appreciate the attention to detail that went into every stand and how, for example, all of the food was clustered together. In terms of comfort, various tables, cushions, and indeed, a ball pit, allowed for space to sit and relax during the six-hour runtime.
That said, though the ticket is certainly of value for its product, I wouldn’t say the DJ sets showed a huge variety of style or overall sound. This may be because I’m far from familiar with the house, dubstep and electronic world myself, or maybe the point of the various sets was more to create an atmosphere than provide a setlist of dance-able songs, considering the rather high profile lineup.
The attention to detail all the guests put into their individual outfits will hopefully tell the committee, that the publicity and follow-through for this event were very successful. Despite the occasional rain and cold weather, sleek, retro-inspired looks were definitely the aesthetic of choice. It looked and felt fancy, glamorous, and provided the inviting, cool atmosphere that I’ve seen a few balls try and fail to obtain.
Perhaps it was just the committee’s experience and the ease of using an outdoor venue while the weather still somewhat permits. Guests were able to be far more comfortable in their own skins than I’ve seen at other events. Despite one person dismissing it as a “hot person party”, I’d say that Starfields was as advertised: a music festival formed by its audience: excitable, albeit typically privileged students more used to a ball than a mosh pit (I think).