When Manfred Langer died in 1994, the gays in the Low Countries lost an icon. Manfred Langer was the driving force behind the legendary iT disco in Amsterdam. Talks between the owner of the iT and bar managers Rein Huis in ’t Veld and Ludo Smits (of Antwerp’s Hessenhuis, 1993-1998) died a quiet death. Yet Ludo Smith kept dreaming of a majestic gay club, and finally in 1997 a unique opportunity presented itself.
Discotheque The Yard, in the center of Antwerp’s red light district, went bankrupt. The club, located in an old workshop for ship engines, was given a thorough facelift, respecting the original smithy. The stone walls were sandblasted, and the large space was adjusted to the needs of contemporary catering and clubbing.
The Red & Blue spectacularly opened its doors in November 1997 and became one of the largest gay disco’s in the world. Each week, more than a thousand gays from all over Europe and outside of Europe would gather there for a roaring party. Prince, Boy George, Calvin Klein, Jimmy Somerville, Jean Paul Gaultier, Amanda Lear, Grace Jones, Cool and the Gang, Gibson Brothers, The Three Degrees, Viola Wills, Bobby Farrell with BoneyM, and dozens of other VIPs found their way to the most decadent parties. In 2009, the New York Times called Red & Blue “The Coolest Gay Discotheque in the World.”
A lot has changed in eighteen years. Because of phenomenon such as Tomorrow Land and other festivals, it is increasingly difficult to amaze and interest the real party animals. By exclusively programming large gay events, such as Rapido (Amsterdam), Lab’s (Paris), Daddy (Dublin) Salvation, Love Child and Beyond (London), Kluster (Madrid), Devotion (Barcelona), and many others, and by creating two signature events with a broad European appeal, “Propaganda” and “Obscura,” Red & Blue remains one of the top players in the clubbing scene.
18th birthday Red & Blue
Sat. November 21, 2015
Lange Schipperskapelstraat. 11-13
info & tickets: www.redandblue.eu
Photography Filip Roefs a.o.