Those Swedes know what’s good for them. In a Stockholm garage, Molly Ränge organized the first Lunch Beat — a dance party during lunch hour complete with DJ. Though just 14 people attended Lunch Beat 1, the phenomenon grew world-wide. Who can resist leaving behind cubicles and desks and computers, chowing down some grub, and shaking it to the sweet sounds of good beats until the hour is up?
Mitchell Bundy, Jan Nicolas Vanderveken, and Matthew Hiscock put their skills together to start Montreal’s Lunch Beat this past April. Now, the party’s fifth edition takes place on Friday.
“This one is a bit different from previous editions,” Bundy explains. “It’s an extended edition before people go off for the holidays.” Rather than playing for just an hour, this one runs for three and people are invited to come throughout.”
“The main DJ Mary Hell will be playing the main lunch beat slot from 12:30 to 1:30,” says Bundy. “But we’re stretching it so people can enjoy themselves a bit.” Bundy and another co-founder will fill in for the rest of the time. Mary Hell is familiar to Montrealers for spinning at the Royal Phoenix, and the Belmont.
Lunch Beat features a catered lunch, this time by beloved Plateau joint Icehouse. Though Icehouse may call to mind meat — as a BBQ-smokehouse generally does – both a meat and vegetarian version of lunch are available. “They do really good bean tacos,” Bundy assures me. In addition, Rise Kombucha, a regular sponsor of the event, will serve their fermented beverages as well.
Part of Lunch Beat’s appeal lies in how it casts underground dance experiences, usually associated with illicit raves, into positive and healthy gatherings. As with a rave, the event takes place in unconventional spaces. For example, Lunch Beat Montreal has taken place in Excentris Cinema, Fringe Park, and even a recording studio used by McGill’s Schulich School of Music. Bundy says they will never use a nightclub space if they can avoid it. “Ruins the vibe.”
“We’re holding Lunch Beat 5 at Espace Infopresse,” says Bundy. “There are huge windows and no way of covering them. It should be full of sunlight in there.”
Dancing is prime. “If you don’t feel like dancing, go get your lunch somewhere else,” Bundy says. “It’ll be loud and there will be people dancing and sweating. Everyone is each other’s dance partner.”
On the whole, Lunch Beat gives people a chance to break out of their routine and get away from the office. “A lot of people grab a sandwich and stay at their desk,” says Bundy. “We let people get away from that.” In fact, according to Bundy, companies buy blocks of tickets for their employees.
Lunch Beat isn’t just for office workers. Students and the self-employed make up a good number in the crowd.
“It’s fun,” Bundy says.
Lunch Beat Montreal takes place at Espace Infopresse (4310 St. Laurent Blvd). Dec 20th. 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. $10 with lunch. Free entry with a food donation.