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Does the Perfect Event Exist?

Hannah Shiblaq investigates the elements that would come together to make an event completely unforgettable.

Over the course of my first year writing for the Saint, I’ve learned a lot— especially in the realm of events. More generally, they are the magnetised centre of social life around which all university students orbit. They provide excellent opportunities to meet new people, try something different, and allow for event organisers to share enthusiasm for a specific cause or fundraising endeavour.

The Events section of The Saint acts as the ultimate source of information for anyone interested in attending an event (if we do say so ourselves). It tells you what to expect, how much things will cost, and - most importantly - whether or not it’s worth it. Having attended a series of events this year, I’ve kept track of what makes for the most successful nights out in St Andrews — and what makes for a flood of angry Fessdrews submissions the next day.

Obviously, the cost to attend an event is a significant factor influencing whether or not people will want to attend. If there’s one thing that unites most event-goers in St Andrews, it’s that we all scrape by on a relatively modest student budget. That being said, it matters how much we pay for an event because we want to make sure it’ll be worth it.

One of the most successful justifications of ticket price can include the promise of an open bar and maybe even some food; whether that be a pre-selected sit-down meal or available appetisers. While some events graciously include a free drink upon arrival, very few students want to stop there.

Usually, people are more willing to spend more money on a ticket if it means that they are also paying for food and drink, whether alcoholic or not. I went to a few events this year that charged an obscene amount of money on the grounds of being hosted by a high-profile society or at an illustrious venue: but at the end of the day, especially with many students cooking for themselves of needing to rely on take-away, having catered food and drink is an added bonus.

I’ve been to a few events on-site, at the university or union, that were so much better than any formally-ticketed far-out venue event. Taylor Swift Bop, Kink Night, and Fright Night (to name a few), all cost within the range of five to ten pounds, and whilst drinks at the Union are almost never included in ticket price, the experience made it worthwhile.

Even just across the street at the Vic for BPM or holiday-themed club nights, enthusiasm is exponential in comparison to many balls or fashion shows I’ve attended. As fun as more formal events are, the experience is more important than a fancy venue. Having your ribs hurt from laughing with your friends is far less trivial than making your bank account hurt from unnecessary ticket costs, after all.

I’ve also found at a number of events– especially those more costly– that I spend too much time evaluating the value of the ticket price rather than actually enjoying myself. Was it necessary to have an event 30 minutes away by bus? Why do I have to pay extra money for cocktails? Is this really the only music they’ll play tonight? If these questions bounce around your head, you probably are more stressed about what you’ve sacrificed for the event rather than actually enjoying being there.

While these technical background details of events are incredibly important, I feel that an event’s theme and promotion is largely responsible for its success. If an event is committed to hosting the most true-to-theme gathering as possible, its attendees will be all the more excited. This is evidenced most simply by any themed club night at the 601. If an event goes all out, so will the event-goers.

At the perfect event in question, all of these wonderful components would come together to form an unforgettable night out. But then again, no event is actually perfect. It cannot cater to every single person’s interest, or accommodate every student’s budget with the demand of high-value and included commodities. Event-planners can only try their absolute hardest, and when they do, their effort is reflected in a very satisfied event-going population.

Illustration: Hannah Beggerow

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