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Bulls and Boogies: Barn Bash in Review

The usual morning tranquillity of a St Andrean Saturday found itself interrupted on 27 January. Dashing around town meant a likely encounter with parading assortments of denim and the conspicuous clatter of the cowboy boot-stomp. You did not have to be an avid Fixr frolicker to know that the St Andrews Charity Polo Launch: Barn Bash was, indeed, upon us. 

Reuniting all Western-style enthusiasts at Falside Mill, Barn Bash marked the first big event of the Candlemas social calendar. This appeal gathered many eager attendees  from polo players to all those keen to groove to Hannah Montana’s ‘Hoedown Throwdown’. After-party ticket drops ranged from £40-50 and were snapped up with ardent enthusiasm, leaving many unlucky students scrambling for a spare ticket.

Upon entry the ambience was vivacious. Herds of bandanas, belt buckles, and funky waistcoats energised the rooms. Aided by Falside Mill’s barn-like design, the setting aptly embodied a rodeo-style aesthetic. The dance floor remained consistently animated, yet for a large part of the experience, the outside area incited the most impassioned scenes. Its liveliness was aided by its versatility  from spirited reencounters to the highly anticipated mechanical bull. Crowds cheered on all the brave soldiers who took on the challenge. In this case, there were definitely more bashes than barns. Although, unsurprisingly, the Scottish sun provided little warmth, the exterior was abuzz with thriving conversation and comradery.

Prior to the big day, I sat down with the Charity Polo Executive Assistant, Frederick Strange. He clarified the two main aims of the event: to simply deliver a “memorable, exciting, and hectic” afternoon and to “nourish anticipation for the St Andrews Charity Polo Tournament, due to take place on 12 April. Strange described the planning process as highly rewarding; all subcommittees’ efforts culminated in the largest number of ticket sales to date. Ultimately, the event aims to raise money for Help for Heroes, a charitable cause supporting military veterans. In the past  they have raised up to a yearly £20,000.

Towards the later part of the afternoon, the cowboy-boot showroom transgressed into a dynamic dancefloor. From pop to country bops  the music swiftly drew in the crowds. The band Real Easy met with electrified grooves, both through the ceilidh dance and avid suggestions from the crowd stirring a diverse and zestful setting all around.

A second outside area hosted the food  a choice between Saint Sizzle’s classic smash burgers and churros embellished with a wide variety of toppings. This provided a delicious energiser for the dancefloor jives and an ideal sober-up for those more inclined to the bar.

For most events that draw attendees beyond the St Andrews periphery, bus journeys are typically included in the ticket price. Barn Bash was no exception. However, those (to whom we are thankful) who routinely keep up with event reviews will be accustomed to a usual recurring criticism: the bus arrangements. Whilst one may think that the management of buses should not require an intricacy on par with Fermat's Last Theorem  you would be surprised by the rate of events’ bus mishaps. A swift bus rotation began taking on attendees within a specified window. However, one more bus would have been required for those who stumbled over to Madras within the latter part of this period leaving a queue of students clambering for a taxi. Luckily, the buses back to St Andrews were on time, accessible, and capacious.

Ultimately, Barn Bash successfully delivered a gratifying afternoon of bulls and boogies  all amidst a vitalising Western-style theme. 

Image: Estelle Alexandre

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