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The History of Stereotype Fridays

For nearly a decade Stereotype Fridays has called Celebrities its home. Over the years countless legends have graced the decks of this now hallowed Friday night. However, before dance music was established as a mainstream juggernaut, before the multi-million dollar Celebrities remodel the vision behind Stereotype had a humble beginning.

Alvaro Prol’s ambition stretches back to his late teens when he first dreamt up Stereotypes’ philosophical underpinnings. Over the years he channeled his vision for the future of dance music in Vancouver in hope of making our nightlife experience just a little better; this is the story of his passion.

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To Blueprint patrons, Stereotype Fridays has always been one of Vancouver’s most reliable and consistent weekly club night, but for Alvaro the journey started well before Stereotype held its first party nine years ago…

Before Celebrities closed for some time in the late nineties, for four years actually, there was a very popular night called Rehab Fridays and in my mid-teens I used to go there all the time and I just really loved Celebrities for what it was. So, after Celebrities reopened I really wanted to have a night there.

But it wasn’t just a simple case of passion and follow through, it was a very different time for dance music and multiple obstacles stood in Alvaro’s way.

I couldn’t get my hands on a night right away, the programming was way more based around gay clientele in the village, but I kept pushing. I still really wanted to put on a night that was open to everyone, a night that would have no stereotypes. You could be gay, straight—in to techno, deep house, whatever—the idea of a stereotype free environment was important to me because at the time dance music was far more divided, you were a house head or a techno guy and you stayed in that realm.

And with that Stereotype Fridays was born…

Pretty much, we were the first outside programming allowed to throw a night at Celebrities; before Stereotype is was all done in house. Initially it was the idea of…hey, how can Blueprint do a night in the village for everyone where you can have Danny Tenagila or Avicii play the same club night. But, the overall vision for Stereotype goes far beyond the music; it’s really about the vibe and an atmosphere of acceptance.

Unfortunately, at the time, a genre-less dance music world free of all preconceptions wasn’t a priority for club owners. However, Alvaro saw through the societal confines and sought to create a night steeped in unity where patrons were free to have a good time regardless.

There is this idea that if one weekend we have Mykki Blanco and some strong programming aimed at the LGBT community that you may know nothing about you will trust the night and check it out. It’s about exposing people to new kinds of music and trusting the environment will be positive. That’s Stereotype.

Although flashing forward to present day it can’t be denied that Stereotype Fridays has done unbelievably well at Celebrities, one has to wonder, if the club had denied Alvaro, could the night have been hosted anywhere else.

For me it had to be Celebrities. As a music promoter, the room that you hold an event in…that environment, it says a lot. Also, the staff at Celebrities; having a community that just embraces good vibes, hard work, and great customer service…really the club just represents everything that Blueprint stands for. Especially at the time it started, Celebrities was just so legendary for me to go to as a kid, it just couldn’t have been anywhere else.

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It is the same fire and passion for Celebrities that makes it so hard for Alvaro to pick out some of his favorite memories.

There have been so many amazing memorable nights, it is almost impossible to pick. Here let’s see…Blueprint has thrown four hundred and sixty Stereotype Fridays.

After taking a second to take in the accomplishment Alvaro pushes forward to unearth a few of Stereotype’s most unforgettable nights.

Specifically a highlight is definitely Stereotype’s one year anniversary when we brought deadmau5. Also, the first time we had Skrillex there…or the first time we had David Guetta. Back then Guetta was just a French guy no one knew and he just blew the place out, it was crazy—I think that was during the first year of Stereotype too—or even when we brought Zedd and Porter Robinson through on a joint tour.

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Bart B More vs. Porter Robinson held down Stereotype Fridays in April of 2011 and Zedd was added as a late addition to open the night.

Yeah, they were just starting out; Porter and Zedd were still kids, and to see what they have become now is crazy. Just to add one more, Calvin Harris’ first Canadian show was at Celebrities. The history of that room is just endless. Even just seeing the rise of genres has been big. To see dubstep come up and witness Celebrities go off the first time Rusko took the decks, it’s been fun.

Looking back at Alvaro’s memories it’s hard to deny that over the years Celebrities has played host to some quintessential acts right before they hit the limelight. When you really stop and think about it, how has Blueprint had such impeccable timing? Just to name a few, deadmau5, Above & Beyond, Calvin Harris, and Skrillex all graced the decks before making it big.

Well…I think that’s just our job, and our responsibility as a music promoter. We always have to look to what’s next and what will excite our fan base. I think it is really important to look at the future and shine a light on people who are doing things in a cool new way. You have to look for music that inspires you—you want to throw parties that you are a fan of. Skrillex really created his own sound and you find that by being embedded in the industry and talking to every artist, manager and agent out there; you always have to fish for the next guy to be excited about. Stereotype, Celebrities really, has made its mark; it’s a stop off that almost every act plays on their way up.

While the club has acted as a hot bed for new talent perhaps the key to Stereotype’s success is the balance it offers. With one eye constantly looking forward Stereotype has always shown an interest in dance music history: the weekly night has hosted the likes of Danny Tenaglia, John Digweed, Sasha, and James Murphy. But just how important is dance music’s roots and heritage to a night like Stereotype Fridays.

It’s very important. I think you always try to be educational and bring acts that you respect. Obviously Vancouver is a bit more of a youthful city and a lot of the people that are in to dance music now aren’t the house heads that I started with, but we try to pepper Stereotype as much as we can with some history. There is this resurgence now where fans are looking for acts that can really DJ which means that these legends are getting more respect. We always respect what happened before but we are always looking towards the future and we have never been to stubborn as to get stuck in the past. For Stereotype to last as long as it has you have to acknowledge that while you might not like something it doesn’t mean that a ton of other people don’t love it—you can never paint yourself in to a box.

Keeping Alvaro’s openness and sense of responsibility in mind, it’s easy to see that he always keeps his audience’s best interest at heart…but with dance music’s volatile shifts can he predict where Stereotype will evolve over the next few years?

It always going to be about us showcasing all the best talent we can. I really believe that we have done a great job of creating a flagship night in Western Canada…so what’s the future hold…I am just going to ride the wave with all of the new exciting sounds and continue to better my customers experience in any way I can. As owners of Celebrities we are really lucky to be able to work hard in every way to deliver a full package product. The futures bright, I’m excited, fans should be excited.

So, it’s safe to say Alvaro, Blueprint, and Celebrities aren’t going anywhere…

Yeah, I mean, to think about ten years coming up…that’s an exciting benchmark for any club night…dance music will never go away…it will just take on different forms and Blueprint will always be there to ride that wave and showcase the best talent in whatever way it’s coming out. That’s our commitment.

Speaking of commitments the nine year anniversary is just around the corner. Last year Stereotype hosted NYC house legend Danny Tenaglia, but what does Alvaro and Blueprint have in store for us this year…

I think anybody in the Blueprint family should be proud with what we have done here together; everyone who works at Blueprint, to the promoters, the artists, and the fans that support the night. The loyalty and the consistency for Stereotype has been amazing, and people should come out and support that, not just Blueprint, everyone. It’s going to be a great night, and a celebration.

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Stereotype Fridays celebrates nine years with Melbourne Bounce king, Will Sparks – It rings true that from its very inception the night has been a passion project for Alvaro Prol. A night without bias, without prejudice or preconceptions—a night freed from stereotype’s where everyone can come together and enjoy a night out. Get tickets HERE!

Ryan Hayes

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