How many club events can honestly claim genuine inclusivity, as opposed to virulent exclusivity? Optimo (Espacio) – Keith McIvor and Jonnie Wilkes, otherwise known as DJ duo JD Twitch and JG Wilkes – have spent the best part of 20 years practising exactly this philosophy by celebrating left-field music in their legendary, anything-goes club nights at Sub Club. True to form, their upcoming anniversary day event Optimo 20, hosted at Glasgow’s Galvanizers Yard on Sun 6 Aug, is set to be as eclectic and far out as those boisterous Sunday nights at Sub Club, with a host of diverse talent (musically and otherwise) from all over the globe gracing their three stages.
Plenty of renowned DJs are on the bill, including Glasgow’s Becky Marshall and Sofay, along with Thump’s artist of the year 2016 The Black Madonna, all of which have been giving dance music’s old boys club a much-needed kick up the arse. The Bug will also make a much-anticipated appearance alongside Israeli MC Miss Red following their recent collaborative 12” Under Attack. If DJs aren’t your thing (you connoisseur of “real” music, you), the day will also be full of live acts such as Glasgow’s synthwave oddballs Happy Meals, the indignant Ghanaian vanguard King Ayisoba, and the UK’s definitive avant-garde heritage act, Nurse With Wound. Australian electronic-singer/songwriter Carla dal Forno too will bring her cold synthpop to life with a live performance. Many more are due to appear on the day.
As the country, if not all of Europe, resumes its hard pendulum swing to the far-right, ushered by fascist clowns and power-hungry fools, community in independent culture is more valuable than ever (it’s surely a surprise to nobody that the decline of independent ventures coincides with the rise of conservatism and the wicked gamut of neoliberalism). We’re lucky in Glasgow to have a heritage of progressive arts communities dedicated to “doing it themselves” – and they’re only getting more determined, despite the squeeze. Optimo 20 isn’t just a celebration of Optimo (Espacio)’s legacy; it’s a celebration of putting on a show because you think it’ll be great, and not because it’ll make you rich; a celebration of how mind-blowing music can change your life; a vision of what independent culture tomorrow could be like, if only we’d keep it alive.