Every Londoner knows the Undercroft, a skateboarding haven under the Southbank Centre, which also attracts brilliant BMX-ers and sick street artists. But the space’s rich history might surprise you: wheel freaks have been gathering at the riverside site since 1973, making it the world’s longest continually used skateboarding spot.
After saving the space from demolition a few years ago, grassroots organisation Long Live Southbank (LLSB) is now working to restore sections that have been closed since 2004. On Saturday September 15, it’s teaming up with Boiler Room, promoters Percolate and white-hot Aussie house phenomenon Mall Grab to host a one-off fundraising party in the Southbank Centre’s Festival Village. ‘We’re moving ever closer to the point when restoration works begin,’ says LLSB’s Stuart Maclure. ‘Meaning that this particular space will never be free to host a party like this ever again’.
Organisers are promising ‘some of the most exciting new sounds in electronic music’ from an impressive array of international DJs. Highlights will include sets from Mall Grab himself, Percolate residents Krywald & Farrer and LLSB family member Medium Format. In short: don’t expect to hear OPM’s cheesy skateboarding-themed hit ‘Heaven is a Halfpipe’.
Before the party starts, LLSB will be hosting a free panel discussion on how to nurture creative spaces such as the Undercroft, which grew organically over several decades to become a beloved and slightly subversive London landmark. ‘The skate spot successfully faced the threat of gentrification – this is both a celebration of its iconic countercultural legacy and a fundraiser to ensure its future,’ says Gennaro Leone from Boiler Room, who’ll be live-streaming the second of two raving sessions on BRTV. Tickets are limited to 200 per session, so if you’re keen to be there, you might want to get your skates on.
Find out more about the fundraiser event on its Facebook page.