What is On The Rocks?

A look into the largest student-run arts festival in the UK.

By: Kit Klaes

Maybe you’ve recently been bombarded by Facebook posts promoting On The Rocks. Perhaps you acted in a show during last year’s festival, or maybe the only thing you think of when you hear ‘On The Rocks’ is how you like your whiskey. Whatever your understanding may be, this article hopes to shed light on some aspects of the festival you may be unaware of. 

On The Rocks is the largest student-run arts festival in the UK, and happens to take place in our lovely St Andrews bubble. The annual festival offers an array of artistic events letting students and St Andrews’ residents define what ‘art’ means to them, whether that be a photo exhibition or smashing crockery into pieces in order to make a sculpture. From comedy to food and fashion, there is something for everyone. This year will be On The Rocks’ ninth year, and will offer ten days of exciting events from 31st March-9th April. 

The festival garners immense support from the community and patrons. Last year, Jannetta’s Gelateria even came up with their own On The Rocks ice cream flavor. Other sponsorships came from beloved St Andrews businesses like Spoiled Hairdressing, Blackhorn, Balaka, Kirk Wynd Kilt Hire, Eden Mill and the Students’ Association. The festival’s patrons include notable names such as Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Sean Connery, Joanna Lumley, Crispin Bonham-Carter, Simon Pegg, Siobhan Redmond, and Andy Serkis. 

Each year offers an array of events. Some of the most popular shows from last year include George Orwell’s Animal Farm and the Just So Society’s production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Animal Farm was put on at Balgove Larder and offered dinner along with the show. Hedwig cast a different actor each night, offering three completely different interpretations of the same show. For those looking for a more casual representation of art, Music is Love teamed up with On The Rocks for ‘music cafés’ last year. The relaxed atmosphere in the Old Union Café allowed for lovely music in a very calm environment. In addition to this, the festival hosted an Indian Independent Film Week for those interested in films depicting themes of politics, women’s rights and LGBT issues. These various events prove that art can take place in multiple forms and in various venues. 

The festival is successful not only because it draws a huge crowd but, more importantly, because of the students who help make it happen. Volunteering means getting involved in all aspects of the festival -- from helping events set up, to running the box office, and everything in between. This is a great way to sample a taster of what On The Rocks is all about, whilst playing a vital role in the running of the UK’s largest student-run arts festival! 

If you would like to volunteer at this year’s festival, fill out our application form here: http://www.ontherocksfestival.com/volunteer-application. The deadline for applications is midnight on the 1st February. We can’t wait to see you at what should be another exciting year of art and antics! 

ST.ART Magazine