Writer Amy Rodgers has a chat with Hannah Read - aka Boosterhooch - one of the organisers behind new club night Bitter.
Here in Glasgow we are very blessed to have such a thriving music scene. So much so that there seems to be a new club night popping up every weekend in the city. Bitter Glasgow is one of these and it is already standing out from the crowd for a couple of reasons.
First off, Bitter is a party that is specifically for women and non-binary folks. This exclusivity - it is fair to say - is necessary to secure the safety and enjoyment of both these groups in a clubbing environment. The party is also unique in its bid to make the night financially accessible for all. A crowdfunder has been on the go for a few weeks now and has been pulling in donations from supporters. The aim is to raise money to cover the costs so that only those that are able to pay on the night, have to.
Given that an obsession with the bottom line dictates the way many people run their businesses, it is refreshing to see promoters being creative in ways that can free clubbing from the shackles of our current capitalist economic system. A similar egalitarian ethos is evident elsewhere in Glasgow at the moment. A "pay what you can" sliding scale system is operating at SQIFF (Scottish Queer International Film Festival) this year and Bonjour (an LGBTQ+ venue that is opening soon in the Saltmarket) is set to be a workers co-op, meaning that everyone who works there participates in decision making and shares in the financial success of the business. Ventures like these show that there are in fact ways to run sustainable projects that don't view everyone and everything as a commodity or consumer.
I had a chat with Boosterhooch to learn more about Bitter ahead of the launch ...
GG: Tell us a little bit about your new club night?
Boosterhooch: Bitter is a new club night in Glasgow for self-identifying women and non-binary people, the first of which will take place in the Savings Bank and feature Oakland-based DJ and producer 8ULENTINA.
GG: Who is behind Bitter and how did it come about?
Boosterhooch: My friend Letitia Pleiades reached out to me at the end of 2018 to see if I would be interested in running a night with her that was exclusively for self-identifying women and non-binary people. She'd had the idea previously but wasn't sure how achievable it would have been or if there would have been too much backlash. I was pretty apprehensive about the idea of running an exclusive night and so decided to take her up on it to sort of challenge my own politics.
GG: Tell us a bit about the crowd funder for the night. What is the philosophy behind it?
Boosterhooch: That was an idea I had - I think it comes from being pretty frugal myself but I resent having to spend a lot of money on cover and I try to make sure that all of the events I put on are at most a fiver as their minimum cover charge. There are a few parties (maybe more gigs than club nights for now) that offer a 'no one turned away for lack of funds' policy, but I feel that there's a level of confidence required by someone in stating that they cannot afford to pay, which can be a source of anxiety. I'm a big fan of the idea of 'generosity economy', and if our crowdfunder is successful it will be really encouraging that people with the means can support those without and that there is a level of financial parity in the club. I've never seen this done before, so it feels like a risk running this business model - but it also feels exciting to learn how to run a party in this way.
GG: Has 8ULENTINA been a guest in mind for a while? What is the thought process behind booking your artists?
Boosterhooch: I met 8ULENTINA a couple of years ago when they played at The Art School for freshers week and we had them on Subcity Radio for a show. I've kept up to date with all the things they've been up to since as part of Club Chai and they reached out to me looking for a gig whilst they're over here for a European tour. The dates worked out and they really fit the ethos of the night!
GG: Any advice for students of Glasgow who are wanting to get into the music industry? It can seem a bit daunting at first…
Boosterhooch: Subcity Radio. (full stop)
GG: Have there been any people or collectives who have empowered you / helped you find your feet?
Boosterhooch: Again on a personal level, Subcity Radio. I joined in my first year and was involved throughout my time at uni and still do my radio show there. It's hard to express the debt I feel towards that organisation.
GG: Finally, what makes the perfect party?*
Boosterhooch: You're probably looking for me to say something like "smoke machines" or "pints", but it's temporal distance on either side. So anticipation and then sentimentalism. Also pints.
Bitter Glasgow w/ 8ulentina is on 21st September at The Saving's Bank.
You can donate to the crowdfunder page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bitter-8ulentina