Eagle Furdance swoops in with a dance party for Swiss fandom – with bowling!
by Patch O'Furr
Furclub: “A repeat/regular nightclub event by furries for furries.” The concept has been spreading since the late 2000’s. It’s a dance party independent from cons. It builds on their growth, but takes things farther. It’s more ambitious than informal meets and events that happen once. Those can stay inner-focused, but this brings partnership with new kinds of venues, and new support for what they host. It crosses a line to public space, so a stranger can walk in and discover their new favorite thing. It encourages new blood and crossover to other scenes. It makes subculture thrive. It’s a movement!
Parties that give a Q&A get a featured article. See The Furclub survey for questions and party list. Here’s Eagle Furdance in Switzerland, introduced by organizer Avalon Bluejay. Their 4th party happened on April 28, 2018.
- Wiki german: http://de.wikifur.com/
- Website: www.eaglefurdance.com
- Twitter: @EagleFurdance
Who is involved?
Me (Avalon or Blueavian), I founded this event back in 2014 because there were no furdances around in Switzerland. The only ones even near the country are in Germany. I’m very interested in organizing events (like Golden Leaves Con, I’m also one of the founders for that), so I did this to bring something that didn’t exist for Swissfurs before. They only have a few events, and those are the two main ones.
I’m not only the chair for the event, but even the Bar Manager. As a Barkeeper myself I make the highest quality cocktails we can do. The dance is sponsored by the Swissfurs Club that sponsors Golden Leaves Con and other little events too. The main staff there is Luxen, who is also crew for the bar. Many volunteers are working with us (there’s a list of them all on the website), but it started small with just a few people. One special guy I want to thank is Fendracus. He is our logistic manager, and brings the party to life, like with lighting for the whole building. Without him and other volunteers it would never get this far.
We have had DJ’s for each party like RobSqrl. He’s a more professional DJ who’s on Spotify. We gave him the first platform at a furry dance, and since then many other dances and Eurofurence have wanted him to be there to make music. Next to him we have R4MS, Trackqube, and new to our team is Asgra. He played with us for the first time at our 4th party. (You can see what they play on the website).
What kind of party:
EFD was conceived as a club socializing party. As it grew, some people wanted more activities, and because we have a kind of a bowling alley area, we decided to move the fursuit lounge somewhere else and make a second bar. Since last year, we have had a chillout lounge bar with 3 bowling lanes.
Our belief about price is that a ticket should support the venue and some other costs. So the ticket is around 30 Swiss Franks (about 30 US Dollars), but for that price, we can keep drinks and food prices lower. Like a cocktail for 8 Swiss Franks that you get in the city for 25.
Our attendance has numbered around 80-112. For the 4th party it seemed unpredictable because we had 60 registered, but there are always last minute attendees, so we estimated around 80-90.
When is it, where, and how can people be part of it?
EFD has been around since 2014. The debut was around September/October. 2016 was the only year it didn’t happen because of problems with getting everyone together. The 2017 party was on September 23, and was a total success after a year of absence. For the 4th party we had new staff and better equipment, and it made us look forward to how people would react.
EFD has been held since the beginning in the Disco Metropole, with additional space from the Telli Center Club, in the city of Aarau Switzerland. Most furs come from Switzerland, but we have had a few from Germany, and sometimes one or two from the UK or USA.
How to be a part of it is easy, just be interested. We always want to embrace people to do stuff that they normally can’t do, like set up the music or light system or help at the bar, handle security, and so on. It’s important for me as a chef that everybody is happy and has fun. If not we wouldn’t do it.
How did it grow?
It can be stressful before and at the event because it’s like a real job. But if you do it to have fun, you don’t see it as something for profit, and it lets you do stuff you never do.
As I said before, I liked to do events, and that’s the reason I got some people together and asked if we could do it. I wanted to make it a success, and I got a lot of support from all sides. At this point i lived in Aarau. I was searching for a venue that had enough space, a bar, and something extra, but it was important that we do it all ourselves. Light, Sound, Bar, everything – so we could keep the prices down, because if we rented a club nobody would come. Switzerland has expensive costs on average, and furries who enjoy cons, meets, fursuits and art usually have less pocket money.
I found out that my shopping center next door had kind of a club with many rooms, and even a disco that never really got properly used. I already had a huge supply of bar stuff at home, so I thought it was a good opportunity to try it there. The staff could sleep at my place, and it wasn’t a long walk to the venue. Everything went well, and since then, the venue asks us first when we want to do it again. So we’re loved there and that’s great. I hope we can stay there for a long time.
The vibe is great. Every one of our guests are chill and has fun, especially with the chillout lounge and bowling until 4 in the morning. You can dance if you want, you can chill if you want, you can even bowl or go out and sip a drink with friends outside. I think we have as much as 50% fursuiters, and they rock on the dance floor. The event starts at 4pm, and the shopping center above us is still open until 6pm, with a plaza where the fursuiters entertain children and others. The general public loves us, and the best part was last year two non-furs came in and asked if they could be a part of this party, because they think we’re awesome. We got a great review from them at the end.
This is always the hard part. People don’t want to decide early for an event like this, because they already have expenses with cons and other events. And because we’re not the only event, you want to make the best of it. So we try with word of mouth, flyers, trailers on youtube, going to meets, and even having a special promotion if you register by a certain time – you get some additional money on your drink & food account (usually 10 Franks). But what works best is still to get the right people to your event, and their friends will come too. So sometimes you need to go directly to those guests and convince them to come.
At the moment we don’t draw media attention except from you as news. We’re too small, but the Telli Club still sees us as something amazing and cool. And of course we give them a lot of money for all the stuff we need, so coming back every year is perfect for them. We have never had a problem with authority or other people, just a little excitement as always, but you don’t need to call the police about anything you can’t talk about normally with someone. Everything has been perfect in the end.
The whole event is fully supported by furries, but also supported by our drink vendor and Telli Club of course. (So 80% furry, 20% non furries.)
EFD is a part of the Swissfurs Club. That means we’re a non-profit organization. We do it for the fandom. We have strict regulation and licensing is needed from the government, but we always have it, and because our NFC/RFID payment & regsystem worked from day one, we can start having people as young as 16 years old. If we get profit (the last two times we made 0), we donate to the Swisspawpeteers Club that does free theater shows at Golden Leaves Con and sometimes elsewhere.
The EFD at the moment has stable numbers, so business isn’t really growing or falling but we think we might grow a bit next year.
Videos on youtube and pictures on the website speak from themselves, I would recommend to search and see what comes up.
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