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St Andrews Freshers Week 2021 Reviewed

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

With the accumulated pressure of a year and a half of limited social interaction, this Freshers Week had a lot to make up for. Fashion shows, balls, sports, societies, and the Union have all worked incredibly hard over the past weeks and months to create a lineup fit for thousands of community-deprived students. But now that the whirlwind is finally over, how good was Freshers Week? Whether you were too burnt out to attend much, chose to keep it lowkey because of Covid, or went a little too hard and are having trouble remembering, here’s the rundown on St Andrews Freshers Week 2021.

Union north

The latest addition to St Andrews Freshers, Union North was created as a festival-style space featuring an outdoor stage, picnic tables, and food trucks. Despite being open with live music and events from 2-9pm at North Haugh, Union North did not take off as well as expected, and was cut short two days earlier than advertised. According to the Union, this was due to “unforeseen circumstances” on Wednesday and “adverse weather conditions” on Thursday, but noise complaints and low turnout have also been rumoured causes of the site’s closure. 

Throughout the week Union North hosted talented musicians, but from the photos shared by the Union, it appears that most smaller acts had little to no audience. Tuesday’s headliner, Twin Atlantic, was the only performance that garnered significant attention, but even this event did not have big crowds forming until about 15 minutes into their hour-long set. Seeing as this Scottish alt-rock band has a hit song with over 20 million plays on Spotify and has played much larger venues such as Glasgow Summer Sessions, this reception seemed somewhat wanting.

The timing and location of this venue meant that it was out of sight and out of mind for a lot of people. Running right up until the opening of 601 at 9pm, Union North events were on when a lot of people would be pre-drinking, and unless you lived right outside at Agnes Blackadder Hall, it’s unlikely you would have made a priority of attending. Better use of this space could have perhaps been hosting more society events during the day as opposed to live music. Yogisoc had an incredible turnout to their early afternoon event, as did EmpowHER St Andrews despite being relocated to the Union at the last minute. 


The largest and arguably most popular event of Freshers Week, Starfields sold out almost instantly during their ticket releases in August. Run by St Andrews Charity Fashion Show, Starfields has attained the status of a must-go freshers event with their famous headliners and impressive staging.

Big names headlined both nights, with Riton taking the stage on Friday and Jax Jones on Saturday. Both artists have over 17 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and their booking is especially impressive considering Jax Jones was a last-minute (and far more popular) replacement for initial Saturday headliner John Summit. 

As someone who attended the Friday session of Starfields, I have to say that, although very well put together, it was not the sort of music I would choose myself. The crowd was jumping and the set-up was amazing, but the number of songs I was actually singing along to numbered about three. The venue was also cash only at the bars, something that should have been more heavily publicised as many people, including some committee members, were unaware of this prior to attending. I would have considered it a good night, but not necessarily something I would make a point of attending again and not something that warranted the £30 ticket pricing. 

club 601

Both my best and worst nights of Freshers were spent at the Union, attending Rewind and The Bop respectively. 601 has never had the reputation of the most enjoyable club, and while I would say that is justified, it also manages to pull it out of the bag on occasion.

Thursday night, the Union was packed full of people and played back to back bangers all night. Everything from High School Musical, to Abba, to Pitbull, kept the crowds jumping, with many staying till the end of the night at 2am. The only tragedy of this evening was the cutting off of ‘Mr Brightside’ as the clocks struck two, but the pain of this was mitigated by how impressed I was that I actually spent a full night in 601.

The Bop is the Friday night Union event, and has always been a subject of contention among students. Usually carrying a theme, it is often criticized for being boring and missing the mark on Fridays. Unfortunately, the first one of the year did live up to its reputation. Likely due to the fact that it was competing with Starfields, 601 was significantly quieter upon entry than it had been the night before, which as an initial impression, was not positive. Although there were some songs to get you dancing, there were not as many true bops as the name would suggest, making for an unfavourable comparison to the night before.

Overall, St Andrews Freshers Week 2021 included some very successful events, as well as significant room for improvement. I would describe my experience as fun, but utterly exhausting. Whether this was your first or fourth Freshers in St Andrews, it’s important to note that we have the whole year ahead of us, and your experience this week will in no way define the months to come. Take some time to relax, nurse your freshers’ flu, and enjoy the start to classes as much as you can. There’s plenty more to review coming your way.

Charlotte Luse

St. Andrews '23

Charlotte is a 3rd year English & Psychology student from Glasgow with dual citizenship in the United States. Founding Co-President of EmpowHER St Andrews, she is passionate about fitness, feminism, and lifting other women up. This year she is looking forward to expanding the ways in which she can have a positive impact through her writing.