Livingston skatepark, (or 'Livi' to the initiated) is a magical place bursting with history that stands in testament to the transformative potential that skateboarding can bring to the lives of those who come across it. Conceived as an idea following a Californian business trip undertaken by Livingston's spiritual father Kenny Omond, and then taken on as a viable project due a confluence of factors tied into Livingston's status as a 'New Town', in many ways the skatepark is somewhat of an anomaly.
Livingston was the last of the large-scale 1970's style skateparks to be built in the UK as the initial skateboard boom was dying. The original layout - the half pipe, the twin bowl and the downhill slalom area that leads to the infamous back wall - all drew their inspiration from existing 1970's skateparks which, by the time Livi was completed in 1980, had either all been demolished, or were awaiting demolition, ironically.
Much has been written previously on the influence of famous parks such as Hampshire's Andover skatepark (hence the 'Andover section' at Livi), or Marina Del Ray's influence on the design of Livi's bowl so for the sake of brevity, we won't go into that too heavily here.
If you do want to know more about the back story of Livingston and the factors that were involved in its original construction, (along with some information about the 1992 extension to the park), allow me to direct you to the Kenny Omond 'Carved in Stone' interview which will fill in most of the gaps.
Aside from the skatepark itself, Livingston's other major contribution to the skateboard culture of Scotland, the UK and the wider world is the Livi Pure Fun Skate Party which might just be the longest-running skateboard event in the entire world.
Livi's annual Skate Party began life officially in 1984 as part of a council-run Livingston Festival and, aside from a few blips in the early 2010's, has run every year since then.
At its peak the Livi Pure Fun Skate Party pulled in massive crowds with hundreds of skaters from across the UK driving up on the Friday and camping on the grass around the park (with varying degrees of success), making the event a cornerstone of national skate culture in much the same way as the celebrated Radlands contests held throughout the 1990s were.
This year's Livi Fun Day saw a revitalized event, thanks to Stu Graham taking on the reigns and the added poignancy of 2018's Livi Pure Fun Skate Party also acting as a memorial for Roxanne Ellis Graham.
Stu kept the vibes super positive, the sun shone like it has never done before and Livi saw its first ever Girls event - along with the traditional jams held across the park.
2018 also saw one of the best turn outs in years with skaters from all over Scotland turning up and smashing every inch of the park, plus cars full of Livi neophytes from as far away as Birmingham and Bristol.
Ben Broyd - frontside air. Photo: Alex Irvine
There's not too much more that needs to be said here really as the clip above and the photos will tell a way better story of the skateboarding that went on.
Suffice to say that Livingston's Pure Fun Skate Party is probably the oldest skateboard event on the planet, the skatepark itself is unique, and the locals are some of the friendliest (and gnarliest) skateboarders that you could hope to meet.
Let's keep the momentum going and put Livi's annual event back on the map as one of the best in our shared culture.
Huge praise and thanks to the Graham family, to Kenny Omond, to Kyle for building the extension and to all the people who helped out with prizes and organisation. You are all the best.
Will Stradling AKA 'Keen Will' - suicidal boneless transfer from the new section into the halfpipe. I'm pretty sure that this was second or third try. Insanity. Photos: Alex Irvine
Colin Adam - frontside invert on Kyle's extension. Photo: Alex Irvine