ARTICLE BY ANDRÉ C. PASSIOUR, FUGUES MAGAZINE MONTREAL – JULY 2021 EDITION
Maybe you’ve seen the ads on social media and in the June edition of Fugues magazine, the Black & Blue and the Carnival of Colors will be back in the fall of 2021. In 2020, we were going to celebrate the 30th edition of Black & Blue when the coronavirus pandemic struck and thus canceled all events and festivals, large and small (face-to-face). With the easing of sanitary restrictions, culture and nightlife are expected to resume, which bodes well for such a party festival and for the Carnival of Colors activities as well.
Last year there hadn’t been an “online” festival or digital DJ performances, either.
“Yes, there will indeed be a Black & Blue and a Carnival of Colors during the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend this year, whether it is face-to-face, in a hybrid formula, or in a virtual format if need be! ”, confirms the founder and president of the BBCM Foundation (Bad Boy Club Montreal), Robert J. Vezina, who is organizing this event.
“Given the [health] situation, you have to be flexible and adapt,” says Vezina. New options have been offered to us by the authorities in order to be able to fully participate in the post-pandemic rebirth. Several new festival support programs to revitalize the cultural event community have recently emerged, and the BBCM Foundation has been invited to submit projects to be mainly held outdoors in the public domain. We hope to be able to generate benefits for our participants, our partners, the merchants and the community. We can see that this is positive and we feel that everyone wants the economy to get back on track and businesses to be able to function again. […] “
But will we still see thousands of scantily clad people swaying their hips to the energetic and hypnotic music of good DJs on a crowded dance floor all night long? “We hope so, but we have to be realistic. The Black & Blue will take place, but it is not yet known what formula will be applied to it. Will people have to wear a mask or not? How many people will be able to participate in the face-to-face event? Can we ask for proof of vaccination on entry? These are all questions the organization is currently asking itself, but it must be said that things are changing quickly. So we don’t yet know where we’ll be in October. “
But we know that the major event will be held even virtually in the worst-case scenario, for example if Montreal is back in the red zone in the fall. Meanwhile, we’re planning a hybrid formula right now. It remains to be seen whether other smaller parties or events in clubs and bars in the gay Village will be permitted as usual, face-to-face. As of going to press, and until further notice, public health only allows bars to serve customers on their outdoor terraces … Will that change this fall? Let’s hope so.
A 3rd edition of the Carnival of Colors, free portion of the Festival
What is meant as a “Gathering and celebration of multicultural and LGBTQ + communities for the fight against racism and the fight against homophobia”, will be presented during the weekend of the Canadian Thanksgiving in October with new outdoor activities in the Village and the Latin Quarter, and also with the return of an indoor component at Complexe Desjardins. The good news is that the Carnival of Colors activities will be held at the same time as the Black & Blue weekend this year, to maximize the impact of the programming.
“The whole team is actively working to organize activities that will adapt easily,” adds Robert J. Vezina. Again, everything will depend on the situation: if we are back in the red zone in the fall, it will be necessary that the artistic content be rather contemplative activities and/or produced in an ambulatory fashion. If it is in the yellow or green zone, then there could be performances on outdoor stages and small gatherings of spectators. It takes a lot of flexibility. ”
The idea here is always to attract people, the public and customers, to the city center and to the gay Village, i.e. neighborhoods very hard hit by the pandemic while higher education institutions and office towers have been deserted by tens of thousands of people. “We know that the various levels of government want activities to bring people back to the wider downtown area of Montreal (including the Village). We have several variations of activities in our planning strategy, and we can adapt depending on what is allowed or not, ” insists Robert J. Vezina.
During the last edition of the Carnival of Colors, there were also some free conferences at Complexe Desjardins with personalities who came to talk to us about racism, homophobia, etc. Will there be any this year? “Everything is possible ! Or could there be a videoconference part? Perhaps, in October, such indoor events will easily be permitted? We have to plan ahead, but at the same time we also expect clear directives from the authorities […] “, Vezina said.
Hence, more details are to come as much for the Black & Blue as for the Carnival of Colors.
The organizing committee is currently looking for volunteers and team leaders, if you are interested: firstname.lastname@example.org
Info: www.bbcm.org or www.carnavaldescouleurs.org