Eternal optimism and the need for a different kind of party has meant the rise of outdoor clubbing experiences. David Pollock reports
With the unpredictable nature of Scottish weather al fresco clubbing isn’t quite the major deal in Scotland that it is in, say, Ibiza or Miami. But parties under canvas, on boats and in beer gardens have proven to be the best ways for Scots to hedge their bets on the sunshine.
‘We’ve been very fortunate with the weather to date,’ says Ronnie Muirhead, promoter and DJ with Glasgow’s popular house all-dayer Sunday Circus. ‘[Our venue] the Courtyard is a bit of a hidden gem, stuck between four office blocks in the middle of the city. The exposed brickwork has a raw feel to it which really helps add to the atmosphere, and we can cover most of the space with a canopy and a circus-style gazebo so it gives us the perfect opportunity to make a daytime, outdoor party happen in Glasgow.’
The Courtyard has held various other outdoor parties in the past, with the outdoor arrangement Muirhead describes offering a combination of fresh air, warmth and seclusion from the rest of the city; this month’s event features special guests Tom Craven and Adam Proctor from Manchester’s BackToFront night. Another monthly all-dayer happening the same weekend will be the Drawing Room bar’s BBQ Beats, which is run by those behind the venue’s Quiet Riot night. Although its focus is primarily live music, there will also be DJs and, of course, a Sunday barbecue out on their patio.
For those who want to make a real day of it, however, classic 80s and 90s RBB and soul night Groove Theory will be decamping to the waters of Loch Lomond on July’s first Saturday for their third annual Cruise Theory boat party. ‘I think one of the best things about a boat party,’ says the club’s DJ Naeem, ‘is that you can’t leave so you pretty much have to let your hair down and get on with it. Partying on a boat isn’t something you generally associate with the urban scene in Scotland, so I think the uniqueness factor captures people’s imaginations too.’
Not forgetting the monthly Edinburgh Boat Party , with a shuttle bus departing from the Outhouse and featuring a set from DiskoKitten this month.
There’s much more yet to come over the summer, for those who want to stay outdoors such Optimo and Melting Pot’s Waverley River Boat Shuffle (Fri 24 Jul). The first time the Waverley Steamer has been used as a club venue, this event will see Optimo’s Twitch and Wilkes join Melting Pot resident Simon Cordiner and special guest DJ Bill Brewster (Last Night a DJ Saved My Life) for a boat trip up the Clyde and then a secret-location warehouse party on into the morning.
Then, of course, the lucky few thousand who have tickets will already be going to Scotland’s most famous outdoor(ish) clubbing experience – T in the Park’s Slam Tent, which opens for business on Sat 11 and Sun 12 Jul.
Sunday Circus, the Courtyard, Sun 28 Jun; Groove Theory’s Cruise Theory 03 departs from Tao Bar, Sat 4 Jul; BBQ Beats, the Drawing Room, Sun 28 Jun (all Glasgow); Edinburgh Boat Party departs from the Outhouse, Edinburgh, Sun 28 Jun.