Glasgow, Scotland: Where Music & Skate Culture Collide
In Glasgow, Scotland, there are two scenes undeniably synonymous with Glaswegian culture: skateboarding and music. One of its most stimulating venues? SWG3—revered by locals as much for its artistic exhibitions as its alternative club nights, the music venue also has a major part to play in the future of the Glaswegian skate scene.
In a collaboration with local skate store Pyramid, SWG3 played host to two fundraisers last year for the proposed GUSM74 project (a multi-functional public park that hopes to combine art, sport, and urban design in Glasgow). With the longstanding Teleboyz skate team in attendance, the parties proved a resounding success and helped the GUSM74 dream take one step closer to being realized.
SWG3 also has a project of its own in the works, ‘the Yard’, which hopes to turn a purchased lot into “an extended indoor and outdoor arts space” with the focus being on skate and graffiti culture.
We sat down with SWG3’s Charlotte McKelvie about their vision for Glasgow’s skate and music scenes; peep the full interview below.
Why did SWG3 feel compelled to get involved with Glasgow’s skate scene?
A lot of my good friends skate and I’ve always been interested in supporting that scene due to its creativity, the respect everyone has for one another, and the supportive attitudes within the scene in Glasgow. I’ve been to a lot of nights Sam Bessa-Reader plays at and always rated them highly, so enlisted his help in putting on a night. We saw the potential for supporting this amazing scene by putting on a fundraiser for the M74 Skatepark, as the project needed money. We thought it would be great to help build a skatepark at the back of the yard, therefore the fundraiser also raised money for this new ‘Yard’.
What are SWG3’s hopes for the Yard in the future?
The yard is set to be a completely creative space invoking all areas of art and culture, from concerts to gigs to art installations. It’s set to have pop up restaurants, bars and coffee stands, supporting small businesses around Scotland. Skateboarding encompasses all aspects of creativity and the Yard will be a suited addition.
What are your thoughts on why skateboarding and music share such a connection in a cultural sense?
At the end of the day, both are about having a good time. Everyone that is involved in skateboarding and making or producing music are completely creative and are creating an art form, which skateboarding in itself is. Music can make people feel empowered; it’s what wakes people up in the morning, it helps you get in the mood to skate, and the importance of music behind people’s parts in skate videos is personal and what makes their part unique. I think they tie together in a creative way and both complement each other massively.
If it wasn’t obvious, things are looking up for SWG3’s Yard—but we were keen to find out how the other project at large, GUSM74, was developing. Enter Raydale Dower—who, along with Toby Paterson, is at the helm of the M74 project.
What is yours and Toby’s collective vision for the GUSM74 project?
Dower: We propose to create a sculpture park, designed for skateboarding, housed underneath the canopy of the M74 motorway. It’s a great site; the motorway canopy provides a good degree of cover and we’re definitely in need of a covered spot in Glasgow! There are plenty of international examples of building skateparks underneath motorways too, such as Burnside in Portland, FDR in Philadelphia, Channel Street in San Pedro, Vancouver Skate Plaza and—closer to home—Bridges in Belfast. There is a self-initiated DIY aspect to this project, in that it has been proposed from the ground up by skateboarders. Neil Davidson originally identified the site and approached Toby and myself, both old-school skateboarders and practicing artists, to work on the project.
We would wish the park to be free to use, an open ended non-prescriptive space that can function on multiple levels, principally encouraging Skateboarding, BMX and Parkour. As artists and skateboarders we would like to create a visually interesting and radical piece of urban architectural design that pushes the boundaries and understanding of what a skatepark is or can be.
How helpful has it been to have SWG3 on board with regards to fundraising and in further uniting Glasgow’s skate and music scenes?
Dower: The fundraisers have been invaluable, both for generating funds that make GUSM74 a viable and functioning charitable organization and in getting the current skate scene involved. When we put together the Xmas 2015 fundraiser we got the Teleboyz 3 video premiere—thanks to Callum Rennie—which was a great party! Even though it didn’t make that much money, we feel it generated a lot of goodwill within the skate scene. After that, Fletch and SWG3’s Sam just took it on themselves to organize the next fundraiser at SWG3. They had a skate jam, bands and DJ’s which made way more money, which is great because it’s like the skateboarders are getting involved, taking ownership and pushing the project forwards.
What does the immediate future hold for the GUSM74 project?
Dower: Hopefully we are going to get a lease agreement between Glasgow City Council and Transport Scotland drawn up as soon as possible and at that point we can start to fundraise seriously towards the initial construction phase. The planning application is ready to go. Pretty much every meeting we have had has been positive, counselors, city planners, architects, across the board really like the idea and of course, it’s important that the skate community does too. These things take time, but we’re convinced this is something that Glasgow will benefit from greatly.
Featured image via Sam Ashley and Kingpin Magazine
Stay tuned to Milk for more from the intersection of Scottish skate culture and music.