Szentek: Reviewed

Not knowing what to expect from Szentek, Thursday night had me trying on – and subsequently rejecting – every outfit in my wardrobe. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. Upon arriving, it quickly became clear that I wasn’t the only one who was uncertain as to the dress code. Guests were wearing everything from glitter covered jumpsuits with skyscraper heels to cut offs, neon face paint and trainers. Bizarrely though, it all seemed to work. Even the dressiest outfit did not seem out of place against the venue’s aesthetic, and the atmosphere was far from self conscious.


The transformation of Kinkell Byre from upscale ball venue to a ruin bar was no easy feat, but the committee’s efforts were admirable. As they arrived, guests were greeted with various works of art scattered over the walls, a stall selling crepes (or giving them away for free, if you were one of the first 100 guests), and a myriad of objects, from life rafts to furniture, suspended from the ceiling. The aesthetics certainly did not disappoint, and helped transform the evening from a standard club night to an event worthy of its build up.  From an organisational point of view, everything was seamless. The addition of a second bar and dance floor discouraged large queues and crushes whilst dancing, and by positioning the food venues at alternate ends of the venue, there were never hordes of people gathering in one place for nachos or crepes. Furthermore, the projection of a film onto a large sheet added a nice touch, and created a space where those tired of dancing could rest and talk amongst themselves.


Still, as I drank in the ruin bar atmosphere and danced along with other guests, one thought was never too far from my mind. At £25, Szentek was certainly cheaper than any other event hosted at Kinkell. However, I could not help but feel that anywhere else in the country, a non-black tie event with such a large price tag would have been met with criticism. The committee are hardly to blame to the cost of a ticket; the amount Kinkell Byre charge as a venue is astronomical. It would be a shame to have Szentek hosted anywhere else, as the exposed brickwork and barn ceilings of Kinkell worked really well aesthetically. Still, I know several people who were put off or prevented from buying a ticket by the price, particularly because the exact nature of Szentek’s theme was unclear. Perhaps next time, the committee could consider alternate venues, or source a more local DJ to keep costs down.


All photos courtesy of Owl Eyes