Deputy Editor Alexandra Rego reviews Amnesty International’s annual music night as part of On The Rocks.

As a long time appreciator of the Amnesty St Andrews Society (and Amnesty International more broadly), I drifted into Sandy’s Bar at 8pm ready for what I assumed would be a relaxed night featuring an variety of musical acts, which ranged from jazz to folk to a cappella. The event was billed as a night celebrating ‘music, talent, and human rights’. I would say that this billing was, for the most part, apt.

The event was, as I have implied, billed to begin at 8pm. When I arrived (a little after 8), Dry Island Buffalo Jump seemed to be tuning instruments, practicing harmonies, and, generally preparing to start the night. However, as ten, then fifteen minutes passed, we were informed via a few (very apologetic!) members of Amnesty St Andrews that until someone arrived to mic check the event, the band would be unable to start. While this did not strike me as being Amnesty’s fault, it certainly implicated the flow of the night, which otherwise had a relaxed, open quality. At a quarter to nine or so, the Hummingbirds, an all-female student a cappella group, performed a few covers of alternative and pop songs. It was unclear whether the Hummingbirds were meant to perform at this point in the night or not, but they deserve commendation for delivering an ambient and confident set in the midst of what could have been a distracting environment (as they performed, a few Union or otherwise personnel worked on the sound system in the background).

Credit is owed to the Amnesty St Andrews Society members for also staying calm under what must have been an irritating turn of events; they had the good (and much appreciated) sense to update the audience every ten or fifteen minutes or so about the mic-check situation, apologised frequently, and even cracked a few jokes in between. When the event did properly start, the audience (all of whom had stayed, again, I think, owing to the positive attitude of committee) clearly engaged with and enjoyed the event.

Despite a technical mishap that struck me as something which was in no way Amnesty St Andrews’s fault, Jamnesty offered its advertised relaxed and welcoming environment, providing, once the music did start, a series of talented and diverse acts all for a very admirable cause.