Saturday, November 19 is the date for Furball – Amsterdam’s Butch and Bear Cruise & Dance Party. Furball is a party for bears, otters, cubs, chubs, and their lovers. Hair is not obligatory, but a smile is.
After the successful Kilt Edition in September, Furball celebrates its tenth anniversary on November 19 with resident DJs Big General and Bramsterdam from Amsterdam, and DJ Mike Kelly from Cologne.
The First Furball Decade
A decade ago, Patrick Guijt and Wim Harleman took the initiative. Regular visitors of COC Amsterdam developed the idea for a dance party for hairy men, their lovers, and hair fetishists. Immediately, the first ever Furball was a huge success. At 22:00, people were queuing in front of COC Amsterdam up to the Prinsengracht, and DJ Miss Wendy made them spin right round.
Their next big hit was the second party in cooperation with the British MegaWoof, with various DJs on the different floors at the COC. Furball became a household name, not only in Amsterdam, but also internationally.
April 2006, it was curtain fall for Furball at the COC, as the COC had decided to close its doors for clubbing events. The last Furball at COC was organized in collaboration with Bears Madrid.
Something few know is that Bar Prik each month organized the Furball Café on Sunday evenings.
Collaboration with GALA
Fortunately, the GENTS Foundation (better known for XXXLeather, among others, and now part of GALA) offered to continue Furball - a new collaboration with a new location. In September 2006 the next Furball was organized at Club More on the Rozengracht. This, however, was short-lived, as in May 2007 Club More was sold, and the Furballers had to look for another venue. After some detours via Supperclub, Exit, and Odeon, the new highlight was the Mr Furball election in September 2007 at the Melkweg. A majority elected Guiseppe as the first (and only) Mr Furball 2008.
As of May 2008, Furball found its new venue in the WesterUnie on the Klönneplein near the Westergasfabriek in Westerpark. The organization came with the Kilt Edition, a successful and recurring theme for the Furball series. The festive twenty-fifth edition of Furball received visitors from Italy. Especially from Rome, the crew of Subwoofer, the Italian counterpart of Furball, flew over. DJ Hugo Sanchez and VJ Knoisec made this twenty-fifth edition a very special one indeed.
The success of Furball in Amsterdam has not gone unnoticed. During Mardi Gras 2010 and 2011 in Sydney, the Furball Down Under, organized in collaboration with the local Harbour City Bears, sold out. The resident DJs Bramsterdam and Big General are regularly representing Furball, in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, and beyond.
For the past five years, Furball has found its regular venue as part of the programming of Club Church. During the Gay Hospitality Election 2012, Club Church was elected Best Gay Disco in the country, with well-known parties such as Blue, XXXL, Ladz, and of course Hoerenbal. Every two months, Club Church has a full house with Furball, with many regular visitors from all over the globe.
More Than Just Party
Once a year, during Bear Weekend in March, Bear Necessity and Furball work together and organize a large Bear Weekend with Club Church. The cherry on the cake is a large bear party. The idea behind this is that in a city like Amsterdam, there is enough room for initiatives that complement each other and may overlap. There is plenty to do in the city, and with the Amsterdam Bear Weekend initiative, Furball and others want to provide a platform for others to enjoy the diversity the gay community has to offer. That this goes beyond a six-pack, smooth chests, and designer underwear, will again become evident in the Amsterdam Bear Week 2017, from 3-6 March 2017.
Finally; credit where credit is due. Not everyone knows that Furball is organized for ten years now by a group of volunteers. Without their tremendous efforts, the support of COC Amsterdam, Foundation GENTS, and Foundation GALA, Furball would not have been possible. Also, the many DJs and VJs and the loyal visitors made Furball a continuing success. Together, Furball hopes to continue for years on the busy Amsterdam festival calendar!
Furball - The Anniversary Edition
November 19, 2016, 22:00-05:00
Line-up: Mike Kelly (Sorry Shoes, Cologne), Bramsterdam & Big General (Furball, Amsterdam)
Club Church, Kerkstraat 52, 1017 GM Amsterdam
Pre-sales: Mister B, ROB Leather, Pink Point;
on the web: Furball.nl; or €12,50 at the door.