The Evolution of Black & Blue
In Montréal, the real tradition of Thanksgiving weekend is the annual mega-party of Black & Blue. For the weekend of Oct 3 to 8, the Black & Blue Festival will take over the Village, and beyond, with a hearty programme of new and inherited genetic party material.
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Bad Boys Club Montréal President and Black & Blue founder Robert Vézina was more than a little bit proud to know that tens of thousands of party people were about to descend on the city for the erstwhile benefit party he started back in the nadir of the AIDS crisis. Some of the neo-ravers will be fresh-faced 18 year-olds at their first event, while many will be coming back for a 22nd time in a row since its inaugural year, in 1991.
“The artists in this year’s line-up come from all different milieux; they’re younger and more up-to-date with current trends, whether musically or technologically. They open peoples’ eyes, speak to today’s realities, but they’re fun too,” Vézina enthuses.
“Even though the main Black & Blue party on Sunday and the new DE-LIGHT programme are the core of the festival, all the events in the clubs in the Village, our cocktail hours, brunches, plays, and sporting events,” will be a huge part of the festival’s attraction, the organizer contends. His army of volunteers and event minions will be on hand to ensure that the 8,000 participants at the main event have as much fun as those who explore the party prowess of the Leather Ball (Bal en cuir) or the Hard Ball, which replaces the traditional Military Ball this year.
There are few new strands of DNA in this avatar of Black & Blue’s musical offerings: the more trance room at the big event will be called “Blue” which the main room will keep with the house music expectations (Black). Revellers in the lounge area will be treated to the grooves of Québec City’s seasoned spinner Charles Poulin, who told us he was “really excited” to be in the line-up again this year.
Besides the Balls and the main event, this year’s big mutation is the inclusion of FREE event (that’s right) called DE-LIGHT, slated to take place in the Hall Viger of the Palais des congrès on Saturday (Oct 6) from 3-11pm. “Being able to offer the public a free event was the next logical step for us. On top of that, it was a great opportunity to feature emerging artists on our stages: and by emerging I also mean artists of the future. We believe that investing in the younger generation will help ensure the future of our festival. And better still, if this event is a success, we hope to expand DE-LIGHT to more venues in forthcoming years,” Vézina hinted.
A “totally Montréal” approach
The line-up for this polychromatic 22nd edition covers a variety of styles and stars, with headliner David Morales (for the first time!), Tom Stephan, local biggie Stephan Grondin (for the first time since 2001), as well as Gareth Emery and Sander Van Doorn (progressive house). “Our big coup this year is definitely having Guy J with us: he’s sort of the Hernán Cattaneo of the past two years. And people can’t wait for him!”
Back to basics
Even though the festival is meant to allow people to “really go crazy,” Robert Vézina took the public service moment to remind people to respect their limits, and to remember “those who have died of AIDS, as we do every year.” Besides the obvious party drug proviso, Vézina also mentioned that youth should practice safe sex, even though “when we’re partying, we can forget that sometimes.” In line with the “Evolution” theme of this year’s Black & Blue, Vézina added that the festival’s bigger mandate is to foster a sense of open-mindedness and acceptance through their events: “The only way to evolve is to open yourself to others, to their differences, and to respect them,” he concluded. And that’s something to give thanks for!
Black & Blue Festival
3 au 9 octobre