I found my Szen at Szentek
It was SO much more than a rave in a barn
Szentek hit the ground running for its fourth year in St Andrews, promising guests an 'electric atmosphere' that would make even the worst dad dancers groove.
As usual, they delivered, in what was a surprisingly respectful and chilled night out. St Andrews students were dressed in their finest wavy garms, which leaned towards comfort and casual rather than 'how much skin can I get out without looking grim?'
The event had three rooms, including a live DJ outside Kinkell, playing beats that fused electro, house and funk. Room 1 saw headliner Optimo supported by Eclair Fifi, Neb B2B Max Dupa with Too This For That. Room 2 saw Peverelist, IDA , Palidrone, supported by some cracking digital artwork. Finally, Room 3 saw St Andrews' very own Wax Collective, as well as Copper Coil and the Szentek Residents.
The music was, as it usually is, incredibly energetic. It was the kind of music you've probably never heard of. That didn't detract from it though and it was amazing to expose St Andrews to music beyond the charts and Mr Brightside. This year saw more female representation than Szentek has ever had previously, so shout out to the committee for putting female DJs on every stage. The music took us back to the underground raves of the 90s and put on an earthy, thumping energy that St Andrews rarely sees. The event really nurtured home-grown St Andrews talent, shout out for featuring Wax Collective DJs, Szentek residents and Copper Coil, which meant students could enjoy the underground scene without trekking to Glasgow or Edi.
For the weary partiers there were also sofas to sit on and cinematic installations. I will be honest and say that I did not understand 90% of these cinematic masterpieces, but that probably means that they're actually good art.
The only shame about the event was the journey to get there and, I stress, that was not the organizers' fault. St Andrews students, in their desperation to get to the event, lost the ability to queue and it all went a bit tits up. However, once everyone actually made it to Kinkell, it was plain sailing. More than plain sailing: it was chilled, groovy and electric.
A huge part of the event's good vibes were down to Szentek's encouragement for guests to get into the music and to avoid using phones on the dance floor. It meant that visitors really engaged with the night out, vibing with the music and forgetting about their cares (and deadlines). This was something that worked well in the space, which can get extremely crowded, and the event seemed far less packed than it might have been if people were trying to film every second of it.
Szentek was a multi-sensory experience. Credit must go to the phenomenal artists who used digital and print mediums to create fantastic displays throughout Kinkell. These included a figure made from string lighting and Tennent's Lager, as well as an installation of an old-fashioned bath. Get ready for your Instagram to be flooded with these images because, quite frankly, they deserve the attention.
Finally, and most importantly, the event supported the charity Variety Scotland, which looks to improve the lives of children across the country. You can read more about the charity here.
COVER AND PHOTOS CREDIT: Oli McKenzie