Lagoa Club in Menen. If you are not from the Kortrijk area, chances are you probably haven’t heard of it. Tucked away in a far corner of Western Flanders, right next to the French border – which you can take very literal in this case – this nightclub is a legend in the region. Throughout the golden age of clubbing in Belgium, hundreds of clubbers gathered here every weekend to let loose for the night.
Most clubs (or discotheques as they were called back then) from that era have long closed their doors, but Lagoa kept on going – however, business was not good. After disappointing results about 10 years ago, they briefly renamed the club ‘Emotions’, a short experiment that turned out to be a failure as well. So even though the club had a legendary status, clubbers stopped coming - and a handful of incidents between patrons and bouncers didn’t help the already plagued reputation.
This was painful to see for Dries Claeys, founder of the hugely popular Cirque Magique festival in Ledegem and the Søndag club in Hulste. Claeys, like many other ravers in the area, had been ‘growing up’ in Lagoa and cherished great memories of the golden days in this venue. He decided something had to be done, someone needed to help bring the old glory back and give Lagoa what it deserves: a great party.
So, Claeys is on a mission. “Now that Cirque Magique is running on its own, I want to revalorize the nightlife scene in Western Flanders. I’m blessed that Marie Jeanne Cadet, the founder of Lagoa, and Veronique Bostyn, who she co-runs it with, gave me this opportunity”, he explains. “We will do a monthly night at this space – not under a different ‘concept’ or name, we’ll use the name Lagoa, in order to restore the club’s reputation. That requires good promotion, booking stellar names and a lot of work”. That’s definitely true. Long gone are the days where the nightlife audience would actively visit discotheques that were located far out the city centres. “Its biggest strength is also its weakness: the large size. It’s become harder to fill up a club nowadays”.
Unfortunately, the bad reputation is another factor not to be underestimated. But Claeys is confident in his approach, “Yes, incidents have happened, but this is a fresh start. There’s gonna be close and clear communication with everyone involved at the club. We start from zero – and now it’s all about the music”.
The unusual location – cross the backyard and you’re in another country – in a small town does mean that Claeys will have to promote with a large audience that is willing to travel. “We aim for a mixed crowd. French, Flemish, Walloon … The more people the better of course. Everyone who loves music is welcome”, he assures.
So what can we expect in the near future? “A healthy mix of artists that were around when Lagoa lived through its golden era – guys like Len Faki and Drumcode for example – as well as new Belgian talent”. All that in a venue that never really lost its old charm. “MJ is 82 years old and she’s still works the registers”!
It’s getting real on January 14, the first night that will mark the fresh start: Reboot and local techno superstar Amelie Lens will play pounding sets, as well as Joyhauser from Floorfiller and Endove from OHM. Some will be extra delighted to hear Reboot is actually, definitely, surely coming down this time. Claeys clarifies: “Lagoa had a night in November with Gary Beck and Mark Broom, named ‘Reboot’. Obviously this led to a lot of confusion, with people disappointed that Reboot the artist didn’t actually play. Booking him now on our first night is a little wink to those at the club back in November and this time he’s actually coming”! And we are too.
Lagoa is making a fresh start on January 14, 2017, with Reboot, Amelie Lens, Joyhauser and Endove. All information can be found here: Event page