Montréal’s famed Black & Blue Festival turns 27

Richard Burnett

A star-studded line-up of international deejays will get thousands of revelers from around the world to boogie on the dance floor at Montréal’s 27th annual Black & Blue Festival which runs from October 5 to 9, during the Canadian Thanksgiving and American Columbus Day Weekend. This year’s all-night Black & Blue Main Event will be held at the Pierre Charbonneau Amphitheatre in Montréal’s Olympic park on Oct. 8.

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Dancefloor Divas

Montréal’s Black & Blue circuit party was founded in 1991 after the infamous 1990 police raid on the Sex Garage loft party in Old Montréal, which turned out to be Montréal’s Stonewall. The police raid on that underground party led directly to the creation of Black & Blue. “We thought Montréal needed a breath of fresh air,” Black & Blue head honcho Robert Vézina famously said.

After drawing 800 revelers to their first party in 1991—raising $3,500 for AIDS Community Care Montréal—Black & Blue quickly became the single most successful all-night dance party on the planet.

Pre-9/11 attendance peaked in 1999 when 17,000 partygoers packed the Olympic Stadium outfield dancefloor. Over the past 26 years the festival has donated two million dollars to various AIDS and LGBTQ organizations and community groups.

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Luminocity!

The theme of this year’s 27th annual edition is “Luminocity: Montréal shines bright!”

Says Vézina, “Festival participants will celebrate Montréal’s diversity under the effects of lights—an homage to the city’s 375th Anniversary festivities.”

Key events during the five-day festival include the Presidents’ Cocktail – Montréal 375th Special Edition (October 5) at the Écomusée du Fiere Monde, the hugely-popular Leather Ball ‘375 Degrees’ at Bain Mathieu (October 6), and the Twinkle ‘Diverse-City’ Party aimed primarily at younger partygoers, at the Théatre Berri (October 7).

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Black & Blue Main Event

The Black & Blue Main Event this year is called Luminocity and will be held in the Pierre-Charbonneau Amphitheater (October 8) from 10 pm to 10 am the following morning. Performances will be presented throughout night on an immersive dance floor with cutting-edge lighting technology, in a unique and totally festive ambiance.

The two headlining superstar DJs are Roger Sanchez and Victor Calderone. Says Vézina, “We are very excited about this year’s edition because it is very rare that these two incredible DJs are present at the same event.”

Gay and Gay-Friendly Black & Blue

Black & Blue started out as a gay party and justly earned its title as the world’s greatest circuit party with its lavish productions over the years. One of the key reasons for B&B’s longevity is it no longer is just a gay party.

More recently, Black & Blue has become popular with young ravers and gay-friendly attendees. But make no mistake—the Black & Blue dancefloor is one of the rare places where nobody cares what your sexual orientation is.

“The Black & Blue Main Event is more gay today than it was in the late 1990s or early 2000s,” says Vézina. “But we have a feeling that the Main Event this year will be a bit more mixed and busier than the past few years because of the presence of both Roger Sanchez and Victor Calderone.”

Montréal’s 27th annual Black & Blue Festival runs October 5 to 9. For more info and tickets, visit www.bbcm.org.

Richard Burnett

Richard Burnett, blogger

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

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