Under Canvas, St Andrews’ boutique festival has a new venue and a new atmosphere. Moving to Lower College Lawn, due to noise restrictions in St Mary’s Quad, the festival has expanded in both scope and size.
Musically the festival is a diverse affair, with alumni Wovoka Gentle beginning the nights proceedings their unique sound captivates the ever-growing crowd, a band to look out for in the future. The night progresses rapidly with New Carnival taking the stage. They play a tight set dotted with crowd-pleasing covers, the highlights of which are undoubtedly Cornershop’s seminal one hit wonder, ‘Brimful of Asha’ and Scottish student classic, ‘500 miles’. It’s a set fraught with energy that leaves the crowd excited and ready for the night ahead. Unfortunately, the transition between the live bands and DJs is somewhat of an awkward affair. Dogged by a dodgy soundsystem, the electronic music unfortunately lacks the gusto of the previous acts. It’s a crying shame as some of the sets are barely audible with sudden uncomfortable rises in bass, leaving the crowd heading to the bar. A soundcheck certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss. Nevertheless, St Andrews’ stalwarts fight through the unfortunate circumstances to deliver another eclectic yet passionate house oriented set. Horse Meat Disco took the crowd back to the 70s with their unique blend of dance classics and retro vibes, Under Canvas have arguably won the DJ game in this department compared to other St Andrews events. Then there was the sounds of Dutch DJ Mike Mago, fresh off the bat from a remix with none other than Clean Bandit, it was again an impressive booking by the Under Canvas collective.
So what of Under Canvas this year? It’s a new venue and perhaps a new atmosphere for the boutique festival, gone are the CDs dangling off of trees. The Under Canvas crew are to be admired for their efforts in adapting to the venue of lower college lawn and in many ways re-establishing their festival in the face of noise complaints and the like. However there’s something a little disjointed about the whole affair; the flow of the night’s music, the bar layout, it’s not quite as slick as other St Andrews’ offerings, but hey maybe that might just be part of its unique charm.
Words: Charlie Jaco