Considering the Montreal Public Health’s Autumn projections and the specific measures for indoor events, THE BBCM FOUNDATION IS FORCED TO REVIEW ITS PLANS FOR THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BLACK & BLUE FESTIVAL
Montreal, September 7, 2021 – Despite the organizers announcing last August that the 30th Anniversary Black & Blue Festival was well and truly in preparation for October 2021, the Founding President of the BBCM Foundation, Robert J. Vézina, together with the BBCM Foundation committee, is forced, after rigorous and complex discussions with public health authorities (Direction de la Santé publique de Montréal), to modify the plans and to announce that the interior dance parties of the Black & Blue cannot be presented as planned, from October 7 to 11.
On the other hand, the organizing committee is still planning a new big 30th Anniversary Gala-show of the BBCM Foundation in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Black & Blue, on Sunday October 10, in a theater (with assigned secure seats) which will be unveiled shortly. Also, all the activities of the Carnival des Couleurs, mostly to be held outside, are still taking place (depending on the current situation analyzed by public health services), some with modified measures, and always in compliance with sanitary instructions.
To be clear, the themed dance evenings such as the Twinkle Party, the Leather Ball and the Uniform Ball, as well as the main Black & Blue event, scheduled from October 7 to 11 on the occasion of the long weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving, cannot be held, despite the innovative formulas proposed by the organizers, since public health authorities are formally opposed to any form of dancing indoors, with or without a mask and despite the vaccination passport. In their decision, the organizers took into account, on the advice of public health officials, projections of a significant increase in the number of cases of contamination with dangerous variants of COVID-19 for the coming weeks, mainly in Montreal, with the apprehended consequences.
“Our team of the Organizing Committee can no longer consider as viable the prospect of prohibiting festival-goers from dancing at all our indoor dance party-type events with DJs, as well as finishing everything at 1 AM (time imposed by public health directives) especially for the main event at the Olympic Stadium. To enforce distancing, in addition to the vaccine passport, we proposed to public health representatives that we would set up all the venues in a cabaret-style formula, that is to say with sections of multiple cocktail tables and assigned stools, but the health authorities nevertheless refused to allow festival-goers to dance while standing right next to their respective stools, even while wearing a mask. So these particular measures distort this type of event too much,” explains Robert J. Vézina.
The committee also assessed the possibility of transforming the dance parties into a live broadcast format, in the planned venues or in a large studio, but now without any ticketing income and without the presence of festival-goers in the venues, the virtual experience would have added significant unjustifiable expenses while becoming rather uninteresting under this diluted format. “Our team does not produce television shows, and we do not want to improvise ourselves at this point in this type of specialized and complicated production. That said, all the contracts and artistic, technical and other mandates already granted within the framework of the programming of the Black & Blue Festival parties will be honored”, specifies the President of the BBCM Foundation.
Changed programming (as of September 7, 2021)
Here is what we can expect in the current programming for this 30th anniversary of the BBCM Foundation, whose annual activities in October usually bring significant socio-economic and tourism benefits for the Montreal region.
CARNAVAL DES COULEURS (free activities for everyone)
• Several distinct sites envisaged
• Main dates: October 9 and 10
• Daytime and evening activities that vary depending on the venue
• Amplified presentations planned at Place Émilie-Gamelin and at Complex Desjardins, with mainly a variety of performing artists known to the general public as well as emerging artists, with multicultural and LGBTQ components
• A VIP launch party for the Carnaval des Couleurs is also planned on Friday evening, October 8 at Complexe Desjardins • A non-amplified artistic ‘ambulatory’ event is also planned with street arts, dance, circus, giant puppets, etc. Public health officials ask us to no longer promote the name of the street, date and times of this presentation for health security reasons.
Black & Blue Festival (30th Anniversary)
• All indoor dance parties are canceled
• NEW: 30th Anniversary BBCM Foundation Gala-Show on Sunday 10 October: special show with a variety of performing artists in a theater with assigned seats in distancing format (PLACE AND LIST OF ARTISTS TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON)
“Of course, in all cases, the presentation of these activities is always dependent on the situation of the instructions of the public health service which will be in force at this period”, specifies Robert J. Vézina, which underlines the exceptional challenge of the organization of such an event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had forced the postponement of all activities of the BBCM Foundation in October 2020.
The BBCM Foundation sincerely thanks the funders, partners, sponsors and all organizations and individuals who have decided to support the 2021 edition, given the very specific context. Special thanks to Tourisme Québec, Canadian Heritage, Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec, Ville de Montréal, Montréal Centre-Ville, Tourisme Montréal, and Arrondissement Ville-Marie, for their support and contribution. Many community partners, media partners and private sponsors, here and elsewhere, also support the events.
“We are convinced that our various clienteles would have appreciated our efforts to present them with a program featuring quality DJs in the best possible conditions”, specified the President of the BBCM Foundation. But the health authorities with whom we have worked for several weeks have ruled on the specifics of these parties, urging us to face the facts: the indoor dance events of the Black & Blue Festival are made impossible to produce in the context of the 4th wave, and considering the ban to dance inside even with a mask and despite the vaccination passport. We will therefore have to celebrate the 30 years of the BBCM Foundation according to a different formula by maximizing a Gala-Show in a secure ‘theater’ type hall with assigned seating as well as maximizing the activities of the Carnaval des couleurs which are currently considered more plausible by public health representatives.
More details to come on the website www.bbcm.org and on the website www.carnavaldescouleurs.org as well as on social media (Facebook and Instagram).