The 'unstereotypical' queer night shaking up Adelaide's club scene
Adelaide has seen an uptake of new queer bars in the last 12 months. Brodie McGee talks with Joel Chester about his latest night which offers an alternative to the 'stereotypical' gay scene.
It started with the once-a-month and still-going-strong Swagger, hosted on a Friday night at Apple Bar in the East End. With RnB tunes and a fresh new venue to hang around in, it was a much- needed change for the restless youth. The newest contender in the ring now, though, is Why Not?
Housed at the locally owned Producer’s Bar, Why Not? is the reincarnation of the demised Poof Doof. Event organiser and local socialite Joel Chester shares his insight about the success and story of Why Not?:
“I opted out of Poof Doof for a number of reasons; to launch a brand like that in Adelaide would take monstrous amounts of sweat, blood and tears and the right space to be able to do it,” Chester tells Blaze.
“I got tired of that and thought 'there needs to be a simpler way of giving Adelaide's young club kids the place to party among similar people in a safe environment. I was conflicted and decided to just give it a go, so ‘Why Not?’.”
Gallery: Punters enjoy the vibes at Whynot?
Speaking about the future of the event, Chester drops a few hints of something big on the horizon.
“Leigh and I have lots in store for the future,” he says.
“I've sworn not to let any massive details out, but the Why Not? family will be turning it right up in the months to come. For now, we're saving our secrets until the right time.”
Why Not? uses local talent to promote itself, with the promise of cheap entry for door-listed names, as well as jelly shots and cheap drinks. Joe Grejara is one of the current promoters.
“I do it out of my love for the event," Grejara says with a smile.
“I think it really is the best party in Adelaide for the younger gay crowd.”
Grejara grabs a bunch of guys nearby to get their opinion. The conversation immediately turns towards music, drinks, and atmosphere:
“Why Not? is a bit less in-your-face than Mars about the gay thing, I feel like it doesn’t really shut anyone out by sounding too exclusively for gay people,” says Daniel Bice, 19, a Why Not? regular.
“The music at Mars seems to be directed at the stereotypically gay guys… Gaga, Beyoncé… whereas Why Not? music could be for anyone and covers a lot of musical tastes.”
The sentiment isn’t completely shared, though, as more guys join the conversation:
“I don't mind the music at Mars, but yeah, any other club just isn’t as inviting for younger guys,” says punter Jamie Karvouniaris.
Another party-goer, Chris Oleschenko, says: “For me, it’s nothing to do with the music, really, as I miss the Kitchen Bar. But entry is cheaper, drinks are cheaper, there is no line to get to the smoking area, the clientele seem friendlier…”
Going by the comments of these party-goers, it seems Joel Chester is on the right track. “Of course, Why Not? bridges the gap between mainstream heterosexual clubbing and LGBTI clubbing,” he says.
“We're not huge on labels, it’s an alternative to the mainstream clubbing and gay specific clubbing.
"The majority of our patrons identify as gay or lesbian, but we have lots of people that come through the doors at our events.”
Of the many things that Why Not? is doing for the local community, the one thing that everyone says time and time again is that it’s nice to just have somewhere new to go.
With Why Not? firmly planting its roots within Adelaide's night club scene, this can only be of benefit for local queers. As Chester puts it, “The Why Not? culture is unique: it doesn't matter whether you're gay, curious, questioning or just want to be around people that want have a good time.
“We've been told on a few occasions that we're setting a trend in Adelaide. I feel it’s because we're always changing our production to make the warehouse seem totally different, or throwing in a theme so we can deck the venue out.”
As Adelaide’s community grows and subcultures start to emerge from within our ranks, it probably won’t be surprising to see more and more venues cater for these groups. Collectively, the increase can only mean that the queer community has more choice, and, at the end of the day, a more dynamic and diverse city to live and play in.
[Cover image] Punters at WhyNot? soak up the atmosphere.
The next WhyNot? party is on July 12. For more details visit: facebook.com/whynotadl