AS a crowd of 6500 gathered by the banks of the Clyde yesterday a young DJ who has only recently escaped a life of homelessness was preparing for one of the most exciting days of her life.

Sam, a recent graduate of the Homelessness DJ Project organised by the Scottish social enterprise Turn The Tables, was playing her first gig at the third and final day of the Riverside Festival, Scotland’s premier celebration of electronic music.

The festival brought together an impressive array of the world’s most cutting-edge DJs, including Jamie XX, Disclosure, Amelie Lens and Skream, at the first major musical event since the country emerged from the Covid restrictions which shut down most cultural events The Homelessness DJ Project gives participants the opportunity to learn to mix and perform their own DJ sets, while building mental health resilience through what it describes as a holistic approach to wellbeing.

Sam had been homeless but was staying at a hostel when she learned of the project and could hardly believe she was playing her first ever set at an event which sold 20,000 tickets over the three days of the weekend.

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She said: "It feels amazing, surreal but amazing. Turn The Tables’ project has given me so much confidence and motivation to get through some hard times and I’m very excited about the future.”

Turn The Tables is founded on providing support for people who are affected by homelessness across Scotland, this includes asylum seekers & refugees and at-risk youth.

Robbie Tolson, founder of Turn the Tables, said: “This partnership gives Turn the Tables a platform and outlet for our DJs to perform at the highest level. Giving new participants a goal to work towards, while challenging public perceptions and stigma at one of Europe's leading electronic music festivals.”

Turn The Tables has already had support from artists and organisations from across Glasgow’s electronic music scene, including from internationally revered Groove City Radio and the Sub Club.

The concept behind Turn the Tables was sparked when Tolson, a Heriot Watt town planning and property development graduate from Stirling, signed up to volunteer at Edinburgh’s Social Bite Village homelessness support community in 2018.

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After that he successfully set up various DJ workshops and gigging opportunities for people living in hostels or facing homelessness. It provided them with an invaluable opportunity to learn to mix, operate professional sound and light equipment, and reconnect with the music they love, while socialising in a safe environment.

Euphoria was the order of the day at the Riverside as the electronic beats welcomed revellers back to the glories of peak dance Turn The Tables ambassador and internationally renowned DJ, producer, vocalist & label boss Nightwave also played at the event, as did co-curators of the festival Slam who debuted their brand new Hybrid Live concept to an ecstatic crowd.

The best was based around a mixture of technology and DJ skills combining the records from other artists that Slam love to play with a healthy slice of the duo’s own incendiary material.