Whereas on a normal Friday night you would typically find me ‘bopping’ to mainstream music in 601, last Friday I attended an event new to my usual line-up: Bacchanalia. Now in its third year, this event is best described as a cross between a ball and a festival, offering a celebration of the music talent in St Andrews.  

Once I had finally decided what to wear, having opted for a blue midi and flats as I was completely unsure of where on the formal scale this event sat, I made my way to Younger Hall to suss out the event before it was overflowing with guests enthralled in the revelry which the night promised. In the foyer of Younger Hall, I was greeted by a harpist playing with great finesse, setting the tone for an evening filled with music good enough to please the Gods (Bacchus being the God of wine, agriculture and fertility).

I was slightly apprehensive to Younger Hall as a venue – for me it is a reminder of exam stress and last-minute cramming. However, the classy Greco-Roman decorations successfully re-created a night authentic to the Classical World: the foyer was adorned with white roses and a canopy of lights stretched across the ceiling of Younger Hall. What’s more, the committee kept true to their word and really did offer a celebration of the wide variety of musical talent within St Andrews. From jazz by the Roundabout Midnights and A Capella by the infamous Other Guys to the bands Whaleshark Daddy and Alfred and the Chameleons (my new favourite), guests were utterly spoilt for choice.

Given my (probably too) mainstream taste in music and limited dancing ability there were moments when I felt something like a fish out of water. Nonetheless, I was still highly entertained watching the other attendees bust a move, as well as taking a moment to admire their dapper outfits. Downstairs, the Stewart Room, decked with green lighting, roman pillars and cute tables, was transformed into an elegant Greek garden. Offering a more intimate setting with acoustic music, here guests could relax (and rest their feet after the energetic dancing upstairs) or even dare to improvise on the beckoning piano.

Ultimately, the venue space was used creatively and moving between the upstairs and downstairs room gave the event a unique feel, along the lines of a “boujee house party” – though I was definitely glad I wasn’t wearing heels. Much more was on offer than solely the music. Upon entry guests could be doused in glitter or covered in regal tattoos. The more adventurous (and patient given the never-ending queue) could also have their fortunes told. It was a disappointment that BPM, the advertised closing act, decided not to play – apparently it was not their vibe. However, I give my praise to the committee for dealing with this mishap so calmly and professionally. A big shout out is also owed to Alfred and the Chameleon, who extended their set and kept the audience boogying through the night.

One of the most affordable events in St Andrews and a showcase of some of St Andrews’ finest musical talent, this is definitely an event to check out for anyone wanting to mix up their Friday nights.

Photographs courtesy of Marcella Denby.