Pubs, plugs and soundchecks: The Saint’s guide to live music in St Andrews

Photo: Jake Threadgould

Live music in St Andrews can be hard to come by at times but if you know where to look (or listen) then you might just find the odd night of musical nourishment. With this in mind, David Hershaw gives you The Saint’s complete guide to live music in St Andrews.

Let’s start where all good things start… in the pub. Students here are lucky enough to have their own music friendly pub, Aikman’s, which has an ever revolving cast of bands coming through its doors. It’s distinctive charm and friendly vibe has proved very popular with students since it reopened in 2010, remaining unrivalled for atmosphere, fun and more importantly quality of beer.

When owner Barbara Ritchie was asked to describe the pub she simply said: “It is the home of live music in St Andrews and has been since 1985.”

You can’t really argue with that and if you’re trying to get a gig in there then get in quick because they tend to book far in advance.

Although Aikman’s is by far the most regular and comprehensive source of live music in the pubs of St Andrews, more and more of the other bars in town have been introducing local bands and singers in an attempt to boost their revenue. Monday night at the Criterion is probably the best open mic night in town, it has enough regular performers to sustain the night on a weekly basis and usually has at least one new face turn up each time to add variety.

If you’re interested in catching a local band or are in one yourself and are looking for a gig then The New Inn, One Golf Place and The Blue Stane are also places to check out. All of these pubs have live music nights on the horizon, so keep an eye out and make sure you don’t miss anything.

That’s not all though, if traditional folk music is your thing then go along on to The Whey Pat on Tuesdays and listen to their very talented session group.

Other than pubs, the most notable proponent of live music in St Andrews is the ever developing society, Music is Love. The group have been supporting and organising live events in and around the town for a number of years and have attracted highly regarded professional artists to perform here and have also provided many student musicians with their chance to perform in a live environment.

Head of MiL, Kirsty Strang, said about the group: “Music is Love began as a collective of individuals passionate about showcasing quality music in St Andrews, utilising friends‘ flats, borrowing equipment and collaborating with other student organisations. We’re now a subcommittee of the Students’ Association (The Union), and work off of a monetary grant to keep up this good work. The money goes towards live music events as well as supporting student musicians around town.”

From the point of view of prospective performers, MiL is a society that has been particularly popular amongst acoustic guitar-players and singer-songwriters, but should also be used by any student looking for a platform for their musical talent.

Remember, without a live audience there would be no such thing as live music, so please continue to support your local musicians in St Andrews.


Music Is Love events:

Friday 5th October & Thursday 29th November – Student Showcases – Barron Theatre

Tuesday 25th September- Matchless Minds Showcase feat. The Man Whom, VerseChorusVerse, Robyn G Shiels – Barron Theatre – £5

Sunday 28th October – ACT TO BE ANNOUNCED – Venue 1

Thursday 1st November – Euros Childs – Beer Bar, Venue 1 – £5

At Aikman’s this weekend

Friday 21st September – Revolving Doors

Saturday 22nd September – Al Hughes

Sunday 23rd September – Rumba Flamenca



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