What happens when you and your closest friend talk about how cool it would be to host a really, really big party and invite everyone they know and their friends and those friends’ friends with all the funds going to a great cause? The answer is Black & Blue, the world’s largest gay benefit dance festival, attracting thousands of tourists to Montreal every Canadian Thanksgiving weekend to raise money for HIV/AIDS research and the gay community. It is organized annually by the Bad Boy Club Montreal (aka BBCM and Foundation BBCM) – what a fitting name for a great group of go-getters that have turned a fundraising event into a week-long extravaganza.
The Black & Blue concept was born in 1991 with the main event hosting around 800 people to now growing into more than 10,000 participants, a huge leap in attendance and support from people of all walks of life. The party has become a full-on festival of culture, social, sporting and party events that lasts for seven days. In 2002 it was estimated that more than 80,000 people spanning from all over the world including Europe, Australia, South America, New Zealand and of course Canada took part in this.
The Bad Boys Club (we just love that name!) is putting Montreal events on an international scale, a true celebration of the unique gay community and its culture. Now wait, that doesn’t mean that if you don’t swing that way you are shunned. Quite the opposite, this is meant to unite everyone together and that is truly what it has done. From straight jocks to drag queens, from transgender to the local alpha-male bar owner, you name it, they all come with smiles, dance moves and the will to give to a cause that really matters.
Black & Blue is now officially considered a non-profit foundation. What’s truly impressive is that the foundation has donated $1,100,000 so far. What’s just as impressive is that the hard work and result of its annual events has been able to generate more than $300 million in tourism spin-offs for the Montreal economy – hooray, visitors!
There are far too many things going on over the course of the week, so here are some of our personal recommendations:
The President’s VIP Cocktail at the Hotel OMNI is taking its upscale theme to the Presidential Penthouse Suite presented by Barefoot Wine with DJ Ian Key on the ones and twos. This will be a nice little affair, perfect for networking and people watching.
The BBCM in collaboration with the Montreal Fetish Weekend present Hardball. Get your whips and sparkle shoes on and brace yourself for a special show by Le Weekend X. We can’t provide you with more information; this is just something special to witness in person. Going from 10pm to 8am. Club Soda will be rocking tonight.
Tonight is the night! The main Black & Blue event takes place at Palais De Congress with a stellar line-up of DJs playing all night long in an eclectic, huge space with every kind of room to suit your preference. David Morales, Gareth Emery and local legend JoJo Flores are just a tiny portion of the awesomeness that will occur. If you can only attend one thing during these seven days, this is it.
Bless Chez Cora Du Village for throwing the official Monday Brunch. A few eggs, bacon, and loads of hash browns will be needed to recover…some of us might just come straight from the Palais so don’t be surprised if neon-clad stylish crowds will be taking up space in this cozy restaurant at 10am.
You can check out the rest of the schedule of events here.
All proceeds generated will be remitted to the BBCM Foundation for the main causes it supports: AIDS research. The foundation has been a large and key supporter to most of Montreal’s AIDS support organizations for the last 13 years. These organizations offer day-to-day financial, health and social resources for people living with AIDS. For more information on these Bad Boys and their vision visit them here.