On the occasion of the upcoming 29th year of Black & Blue, Montreal’s biggest LGBTQ dance festival, taking place between October 9 and 15, I chatted with President of BBCM Robert J Vezina. Get ready for a great festival eveyone and get your tickets right away.

Robert why don’t you give us a quick run down on what is exciting and special about this year’s event? Give us some highlights please.

Venetian, carnival and all kinds of masks are emblematic of the 2019 Black & Blue theme. The BBCM team was inspired for the 29th edition of the festival, to offer an amusing and theatrical ambiance. It is with this in mind that our creative team will entertain festival-goers at the Main Event on October 13 at Olympia Theatre in an opulent, warm and sensual atmosphere. Participants are invited to wear their most beautiful masks and “zorros” (while not mandatory !) and to dance to the rhythms of the best DJ’s from Montreal and elsewhere such as The Cube Guys from Italy, and with the renowned singer CELEDA from the USA as our headliner entertainment, thus honouring the renowned production quality of the Black & Blue Festival on the international scene. This is the first time since 1991 that BBCM Foundation is proposing a masquerade theme! It’s going to be a lot of fun. For the second part of the Main Event, it will be at Club Soda after-hours with DJs Angel Moraes and Hex Hector. All in all 7 days of parties including the Leather Ball (a tradition in our community), the return of the Uniform Ball (a costume party with sexy guys), the Twinkle Party (a night for younger people), and so much more.

This year’s theme is sexy and exciting, what process do you have each year to come up with a fresh theme?

At the beginning of the process, the committee (president, artistic director, operation manager, team leader) sit together and brainstorm about the theme, colors, new approach, graphic design, what we have done in the last years, what is new on the market or a new trend and after deliberations, we decide on the theme of the present year and build around it for the festivities. After, we contact our visual designer and further exploit the theme and over a few months, the visual is perfected by adding additional imagery, key DJs, artists, new elements, etc.

So 29 years now and going strong, next year a big 30. How about we look at some history, why did you get involved in this?

In 1991, a group of friends decided that they wanted to create a party, a big party, and invite all their friends and associates to join them. The reason, to celebrate, but also to give the proceeds to a good cause: the fight against HIV. That year, 800 people attended the party, an event they called the “Black & Blue”. The party is now a full-fledged festival of social, cultural, sports and party events that lasts for 7 days. The initial group of friends has grown and evolved to what is now a registered non-profit foundation. A very proud foundation that has been able to create an internationally renowned project, nurture its growth to what is now one of the most renowned events of its type in the world. A foundation that has been able to attract tourists from all over the world to come to Montreal every October on the occasion of Canadian Thanksgiving and U.S. Columbus Day Weekend. So, for 29 years we have been supporting, working with, and helping the Montreal LGBT community in many ways. It’s hard to believe that next year, our 30th anniversary. A HUGE year for the Black & Blue to come. Stay tuned !

You also have been developing another festival to go along with that?

Yes, the Carnaval des Couleurs is the little baby of the BBCM Foundation, now in its second annual edition. In the spirit of the Black & Blue Festival, the BBCM Foundation presents the second annual edition of this new event at the major indoor atrium of the Complexe Desjardins (GRANDE-PLACE) on Oct 7, 8 and 9 where 40,000 people pass through every day, and with other activities as well at the door of certain party events of the Black & Blue from October 10 to 13. The Carnaval des Couleurs is an innovative way to further discover and celebrate the multiple aspects the multi-ethnic and LGBTQ communities. We aspire to understand and accept each other. This major event features some renowned Quebec-based artists, and will include dance performances, musical performances, as well as a conference with workshops. The Carnaval des Couleurs is, above all, an amazing experience open to all with free activities to promote exchanges between multicultural communities and the LGBTQ community. For three days and evenings there will be an amazing artistic vibe given by public entertainers, singers, dancers and many others.

For info and tickets www.bbcm.org

About the Author

Antoine has on numerous occasions said that everything he does is "a love letter to the LGBTQ community". and he truly loves this community. A 29 years' media and marketing leader, Antoine is the publisher of theBUZZ, The Pink Pages Directory, PinkPlayMags, and a magazine for Durham Region families The Local Biz Magazine, and is the host of talk show "On the Couch". On his off time he is usually involved in community organizations and causes.