OC DIY Finally Opens a Physical Space in Lake Forest

Orange County musicians, artists, creatives, and DIY enthusiasts rejoice! OC DIY has finally opened their physical space in Lake Forest!

“We were surprised to find a spot in Lake Forest considering that most of the spaces we looked at in south Orange County were way out of our budget,” says Nadya Diaz, organizer and volunteer coordinator at OC DIY. After two solid years of putting down roots, booking all ages shows at spots like Beatnik Bandito and Programme, fundraising, and building a community, the folks at OC DIY found a spot in South OC: a recording studio – formerly owned by Snoop Dogg, right off the 5 Freeway and Lake Forest Drive. Some might recognize it from its former life as the place where we covered the recording sessions of Curtis Young and Eric Wright Jr., the sons of Dr. Dre and Easy E of N.W.A.

OC DIY president Will Saba re-envisionined the space, repurposing a few old control rooms into art studios and offices. True to their name, Saba DIY’d the whole operation, knocking down walls, retexturing surfaces, and redoing floors with the help of friends, volunteers, and family members. After totally overhauling the south OC studio, volunteers installed new lights, and gave all the rooms a fresh coat of paint, but made sure to leave some of the original artwork from Snoop’s studio. “There’s actually a huge mural of Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and Nate Dog in the stage room,” Diaz says, “Of course we kept the mural. There was no way we were going to remove that piece of history.”

In addition to a dedicated show space, OC DIY has an art gallery currently featuring over twenty pieces from local artists hung all over the walls. The crew hopes that more artists will show work in their gallery and curate shows, and are considering putting together more themed art events like the Smash Bros installation OC DIY curated for a tournament last spring. Upfront is a room that will become the OC DIY store and zine library. 

“For a lot of Orange County bands, it can be difficult to find places to book shows, especially in south county,” Diaz says, noting how OC DIY is hoping to solve that problem by providing a location for OC musicians to cultivate a sober all ages scene by playing and throwing shows that are community centered. In addition to shows, Diaz and fellow organizers are hoping to incorporate more art, workshops, speakers, film nights, zine fests, and collaborations with other organizations. Aside from providing a homegrown hub for OC creatives, OC DIY hopes to become a sustainable fixture in Orange County. “Our main goal is not having to worry about closing down or relocating, and being able to cover all expenses so that we can keep growing as an organization and support the local music and art community.” says Diaz.
Their grand opening celebration last weekend was a huge success, welcoming 120 attendees through the doors with 10 local and touring bands and tons of art. Their next scheduled shows are in August, featuring local and out of town bands. In order for a space like this to thrive in our community it needs volunteers and supporters, and people from every community and all walks of life are encouraged to get involved by attending a show or event, or even volunteering their time in roles from door security to photography. So don’t be a stranger, head down and check out some live local music. Who knows, you may hear a band you love, make a new friend, or find a rare Pokémon in the process.

Diaz and other OC DIY volunteers are beyond thrilled to share this space with everyone. “To finally have a space is a big accomplishment and a dream come true. It’s been very surreal and exhausting, but well worth it.”

OC DIY is located at 22651 Lambert St, Suite 109 Lake Forest CA. To get involved email vo*******@or*************.org

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