FFALL, or Festival for All, a jam-packed day filled with eclectic sounds, alluring arts and crafts, and appetizing food was undoubtedly a revolutionary festival catering to all at St Andrews (pun very much intended). The day started at 2 pm at All Saints Church, as an intimate crowd doodled on glass bottles and crafted colorful bracelets whilst enjoying delicious treats made by VegSocand bobbing their heads to a talented variety of music groups. The look of the venue fit FFALL’s visual aesthetic perfectly, with All Saints Church cozily outfitted in fitting autumnal décor crafted by members of the ArtSoc. I was unsure of what to expect from the first portion of the festival, but found myself genuinely impressed with the detailed setup of décor, activities, music, and more.
The diverse lineup selected by the FFALL committee really set the event apart from other student-run music festivals for me. From the jazzy funk beats of St Andrews Fusion, the folky timbre of St Andrews’ own string trio Galaxy, or the indie jams of Glaswegian Sunshine Social, there was truly a sound for everyone.
The festival transitioned from a day full of activities to a night with live performances in the St Andrews Union, providing a welcome opportunity for students desperately in need of a concert fix. While the bands set up, FFALL maintained the artistic energy of the daytime events with the help of an open mic session from Inklight. Giving festivalgoers their own platform to create while watching talented groups of musicians further enhanced FFALL’s message of open-minded camaraderie, and was a lovely addition to the festival.
After some brief technical difficulties, the night kicked off with Blank Canvas at 8 pm. Blank Canvas, a five-man alternative punk pop group hailing from Edinburgh, really got the night started with some high-energy tunes. The band’s vibe consisted of a unique balance between independent rock and alt-punk, paying homage to their heavier roots in an intermingling of melodic guitar and bass instrumentals as the commanding vocals of lead-singer Steve Tedesco streamed throughout the venue. The next set was from Glaswegian Sunshine Social, who had an earlier performance at All Saints Church. The group’s versatility was unprecedented, as they took their mellow sounds from the afternoon into an amped-up set for the evening. The Glasgow-based group impressed the Taste coffee sipping audiences at All Saints Church, and then revved up a crowd of Red Stripe drinkers in Venue 1 of the Union. Sunshine Social’s sounds were ethereal and atmospheric in a lush blend of harmonies, from both their eclectic instrumentals and vocals, exposing the outstanding chemistry the band had. The band gained many more fans that night, dancing and talking to many of the students even after their set. The keyboardist said that he and the band would love to come back to St Andrews to perform again, and we would be thrilled to take them up on their offer!
Next up was Withered Hand, who ironically describe themselves as a “schmindie anti-antifolk” band, and alternative indie rock band, The Winter Tradition, both based in Edinburgh. Unfortunately it was a shame there was not much a turn out for these two sets because those in Venue 1 were enjoying themselves and vibing along to the music.
As the headlining acts of FFALL prepared to take the stage, the union was abuzz with excitement. Broken Records, a six-piece indie folk band from Edinburgh, was the second-to-last act of the evening, showcasing their dramatically expansive instrumental sound. Rich rock vocals collided with a sea of drums, violins, and more, for a vibe that was both edgy and orchestral in its’ execution. The hauntingly hypnotic “A Leaving Song” was a standout number, transfixing the audience with driving strings and fragile vocals from frontman, Jamie Sutherland.
Derby native MORRT was the final act of the night, switching the mood from folk to funk. His sexy blend of R&B-tinged house and disco-inspired grooves brought everyone into Venue 1 for a high-energy, on-your-feet nightcap. MORRT managed to maintain the energy of the talented live bands before him, while infusing his own skillful mixing and unique electronic productions for a finale that was memorably electrifying.
Words: Siv Nilsson and Staley Sharples