THE EDINBURGH DISCO LOVERS CHARITY LOVE AFFAIR

By Bill Rah

No not that EDL, In Edinburgh a collective of like minded individuals with a passion for disco began the Edinburgh Disco Lovers. The collective was founded by Fraser Gillan, Stephen Robertson and Jack.

The Leader of the racist groovy collective has four and a half years of DJing under his belt and began this collective for a special cause. “We put on parties to raise money for charities, which aim to tackle racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence and homelessness. All profits made on the night including the DJ fee are donated to a select charity.” A selfless act which displays how critical it is for humans to show kindness to those less fortunate. The collective is made up of Steve Wilson, Callum Archibald, Dina Celina and Patrick Finn, alongside the original founders. This group is keeping up the vibe and making a dent on the disco ball through charitable donations.

The group is led by Jack Miller, 25. The self taught selector brings a certain groovy gravitas to his sets. He doesn’t just aim for making you move on the dance floor. The Disco Lovers mission is a lot bigger than curating a sick lineup and making money. This collective’s aim is unique compared to most parties in the capital. As most of Edinburgh’s promoters crave money, power and influence the Disco Lovers crave for equality. “The Edinburgh Disco Lovers seek to unite people, regardless of race, gender or faith through disco music and to spread the word that love can overcome hate.” Optimistic and overcome with a love for disco they are using their platform for a charitable cause. A truly wholesome act which is a reminder of humanity’s generosity.

The grandmaster disco wizards group is a lot different than big brands in the capital who only care about perception. He has a clear aim and goal for his brand. The motivation to begin the Disco Lovers was reflective of the collective’s attitude and positive outlook. “The motivation for EDL was to put on positive and wholesome events with disco and charity at the epicenter of it all. With the current political and social discourse of the last few years, it shaped what core values that we wanted for the brand.” Considering the racial divisions that have ripped apart the country in recent years it’s comforting to see a brand that abides by it’s core values.

Photography by FLY CLUB

Having values is what separates this collective from other promoters and DJ’s in the capital. “Those values included supporting refugees, minority groups and the vulnerable, while advocating basic human rights for everyone. We hope by putting on these events that even in the darkest of times, there is always still hope, joy and togetherness to be found.” His confidence in promoting equality provides hope that there can be an environment in which discrimination is not tolerated. The unfortunate harsh reality is that racism and sexism is tolerated around the world.

You might be asking yourself why select a name associated with a hateful radical right wing group. The group wanted to change the stigma associated with the acronym. “The aim was to transform the acronym into something more lighthearted and kinder. We also thought it would be funny to see how people would react. It certainly hasn’t disappointed.” He isn’t wrong it is funny to stir the pot.

There are a lot of flaws that exist within the current state of Edinburgh’s electronic music scene. “I think there is still a lot to be done in terms diversity and equality throughout the scene in Edinburgh. The industry has been male-dominated for so long, it’s no surprise that now we’re readdressing this issue.” The issue of male domination has crept up in almost every industry. It is a real problem in which white males are given opportunities over women and minorities. The issue is real in the Edinburgh music scene. There is a serious lack of female and minority residents in upper echelon clubs.

Artwork by Iona Scanlon

There isn’t enough women and minority resident DJs in Scotland. “I don’t think this is an issue specific only to Scotland but in many other places too. At the moment, the entire scene is trying to play catch up with itself after a long period of male dominance. It is encouraging to see attempts to balance out diversity within the scene and noticeably, there are far more grassroot female DJs coming through Edinburgh at the moment compared to a number of years ago. With time, it can only get better.” His outlook is remarkable considering some of the issues women and minorities have been subjected to in the capital. 

It was difficult not to discuss discrimination in the scene with a passionately leftwing selector and it was fascinating to see someone else’s perspective. “Luckily, I have not heard or encountered any forms of discrimination within the scene itself. We still must address the issues of harassment and sexual violence, which unfortunately does still crop up often. One of the fundamentals for our events is to create a safe space for everyone and anyone, so that people can enjoy themselves without fear of getting harassed.” The amount of stories that have been shared around the Edinburgh scene regarding the mistreatment of women is ludicrous. Women have been groped in clubs, harassed by other men and unfortunately subjected to worse.

The state of harassment in club culture is a concern. Despite all the disturbing stories that get shared around the scene the Disco Lovers have created a musical safe space for groovers. That shared love of disco brings people together. We can all forget about all the issues that plague our lives when we listen to disco. We ended our conversation on a more positive note as Jack smiled and said “Who doesn’t like disco?” A question for another time Mr Miller, for now continue your fine work.

Photography by Ben Glasgow

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