Tuesday 7 March marked the official programme launch of On The Rocks 2017 in the best way possible, with a lovely night in the amazing location of The Adamson, full of good cocktails (including the special On The Rocks one) and great music. To express the artistic nature of the event, but also the festival, four musical acts were included as the launch’s main attractions. They started with the Belles & the Beaus, one of the most beloved a cappella groups of St Andrews, followed by the incredibly talented singers and songwriters Casper Sanderson and Amy Hill, and ending with the Bluesberries, who, despite some technical issues, managed to make everyone dance to the tunes of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
The Adamson was beautifully decorated with blue and white balloons, predominant colours of the programme’s booklet. As always, the atmosphere of the club, with its soft lighting and refined design, was elegant and classy, but the presence of so many people genuinely enjoying the evening, sharing laughs and the excitement for the upcoming festival, was really felt throughout the night. The place felt welcoming and inspired, also because of the wonderful artists that performed all night long.
Fresh from the 2017 Scottish A Cappella Championships, the Belles and the Beaus captured everyone’s attention with their perfect harmonies and creative mash-ups, bringing the audience into a magical dimension. Casper Sanderson and Amy Hill, both accompanying their soulful warm voices with their acoustic guitars, followed on the same track playing a mixture of originals and covers of iconic songs such as “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” by the Smiths and “Norwegian Wood” by the Beatles. Finally, the Bluesberries performed, they had a bit of a rough start, due to technical problems this, however, did not stop them from playing great instrumentals, until the issues were solved. The lead singer, ever the professional went back to the mic and got everyone going again. It was blues at its best, well known songs, which inevitably created a bit of a sing-along, fully involved the crowd. I was one of the people who could not stop dancing to the sound of that harmonica!
Musical live gigs at this level are not too common in St Andrews and far less popular than DJ sets. However, the On The Rocks Programme Launch proved how a few talented musicians can really make the difference in an event, providing a great show and entertaining an audience with their outstanding art. The night was a great success and it certainly raised the expectations for this year’s festival, a celebration and “exposition” of all sorts of art form, running from the 31st of March to the 9th of April.