Our original inspiration for the WOOF vibe was the freedom of expression and celebration of the gay & lesbian community at Sydney Leather Pride's "Inquisition" party of 1994. However, the idea didn't take shape until around the time of the Gay Games in 2002.
Standing opposite Headquarters Cruise Club on Crown St, the idea was to combine HQ with the venue originally located one floor directly above (Destiny's Cabaret). The whole basis of the WOOF member & ticketing system wasn't something new, but at a time when large gay dance parties in Australia were moving from being restricted ticketing for members to general admittance via large 3rd-party ticketing agencies, and because the community was railing at the idea of losing exclusivity of "their parties", WC's member system was aimed at catching the demand.
But it wasn't until another 3 years later, by an unexpected and fortunate meeting (with destiny :) that WoofClub came to life 600 miles south in Melbourne - at a durty leather cruise club called Club 80. From one party with less than 130 guests, Melbourne supported it so wholeheartedly that news of its rise to fame spread to Sydney resulting in expansion later the same year. The success of both was established withing a year.
WoofClub was then invited to LA where after nearly 6 years it has cemented its position as the only Australian dance party to ever get established in The USA. It's now been held in 6 cities across Australia & the US plus Lazy Bear Weekend at Guerneville, California and now has a membership list of 5000 worldwide. And in respect to the G&L community from which it came, we also produce DogPound - a dance party "for durty dance dogs and our durty bitch mates".
Our first party took the unprecendented step of becoming the first ever dance party at Melbourne's leather cruise club: Club80. Specifically a venue for cruising and other nocturnal interests, the venue was notable in being described by international leather visitors as one of the most deluxe cruise clubs in the world (if not THE MOST). Established and owned by Mr Bill Saunders, it formed part of his 3-venue crown on Melbourne's Northside - those being The Laird Hotel, The Peel Nightclub and of course "80" as it was mostly known. An astute business man, he expected astute business plans so with the aid of a friend called Jamie Perks, WoofClub was given the go-ahead for the ground level Dungeon space on Easter Sunday 2005.
While "80" with its sturdy 3 level century old construction was able to successfully mask any other noise from within, it couldn't hide a dance party "doof" in what's become a rapidly gentrifying area. So after 2 events and because of Council noise restrictions, Woof was forced to innovate and move to pubs and clubs such as The GlassHouse Hotel, The Opium Den (formerly Star Hotel), Tunnel Nightclub , Royal Melbourne Hotel (the former Bourke Street West police Station), The Laird (Melbourne's leather & denim bar, now running for nearly 30 years) and ABODE (Melbourne's pan-sexual leather & fetish club in St Kilda).
Then after quite a break, WoofClub came back to its original home in September 2008, presenting one of the signature events for the inaugural/ revamped Melbourne Leather Pride. Successfully managing the noise restrictions meant Club 80 became home again with a string of dance parties up to and including 2009's Melbourne Leather Pride. Then the introduction by the new owners of a second mens dance party meant again taking a journey.
Since then we've used the psychedelic Wah Wah Lounge, The Goodhead Bar where we ran our 6th Birthday, The Monastery (in 2012 after a year break) and more recently at Red Violin.
For our 8th birthday on Easter Sunday this year we took over the state-of-the-art GH (Greyhound) Hotel in St Kilda with "Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted".
>SNIFFER DOGS ON THE DOOR
Our biggest party to date in Melbourne. Staged on Queen's Birthday Weekend in 2007, the name was chosen at a time when news had spread far and wide that police using sniffer dogs were targeting gay clubs weekly in Sydney. It turned Oxford St from a vibrant nightclub destination to a somewhat abandoned thoroughfare where even the main gay nightclub shut its doors on Saturday nights.
While Oxford St is now starting to bustle again, this year's Mardi Gras Parade again saw incidents of gay men being targeted and bashed by police. The protest movement which began the very first Sydney Mardi Gras 35 years ago is still as relevant as it was then and the community has already mobilised to protest.
After a 6 month search for a suitable & available venue, Sydney's WoofClub started about a year after Melbourne's at Kinsela's Middlebar; a glitzy cocktail lounge turned dark and sexy with substantial stagings of black pallets. Most of the events at MiddleBar were held on Sunday afternoons as Recovery parties to the large (and then hugely successful) dance parties such as Sydney's Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras & Sydney Leather Pride's Inquisition.
With "competition" only from long-time successes such as Indulgence at The Midnight Shift (which ran in the night-time time-slot), WoofClub gained a steady following in Sydney before finally moving to the subterranean (and somewhat abandoned) Phoenix for Sleaze Ball Recovery in October 2006.
>DARK DURTY HOLE
The night named "Dark Durty Hole" was such a success that it, along with "Action" (a night run by fellow gay community promoters/organisers) became the start of a new once-a-month format at that venue which later saw the addition of other promoters such as the late Mandy Rollins with her highly successful "Dirty" nights, DJ Feisty (aka Mel Fitzpatrick), SLPA and Harbour City Bears to become Sydney's only Saturday night gay club operating weekly with non-commercial music in 2007.
In late 2007, Dark Durty Hole changed it's name to DogPound (a name originally used for WoofClub's Bar Night, upstairs at the now-defunct Newtown Hotel). We continue to run DogPound as special events at which we welcome our durty bitch mates in the gay community.
During this time, the WoofClub dance party continued in Sydney at unlikely venues such as the high-tech arena: ARQ. Large amounts of hanging black rubber were brought in especially for the party and this was then to form the decor backbone of subsequent WoofClubs at the Oxford Hotel, the Midnight Shift & The Gaelic Glub.
Sydney's 3rd birthday was held in Dec 2008 at the new Manacle (Sydney's leather bar formerly of Taylor Square - originally trading as The Barracks) and then again on various dates throughout 2009 (along with an appearance by the resurrected DogPound dance party) until Manacle finally closed its doors in October 2009.
This is one of our premier Sydney events, held every year between February & March, during Sydney's Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. Held formerly at Rogues Nightclub/The Gaff and more recently in the Basement Club at The Imperial Hotel made famous by the movie Priscilla : Queen of the Desert.
PERTH & ADELAIDE
There has also been one WoofClub in Adelaide and six in Perth, Western Australia, starting first at the now-defunct gay sauna; Beaufort 565 before successfully making the move to one of Perth's "underground" nightclubs in April of 2009: Bar Open.
WoofClub has also been running in LA since early 2007. Starting first at various underground clubs, it now makes its residency at an industrial location in North Hollywood. With DJs such as Tony Ruiz, Blaine Soileau, Ted Eiel & George Roussos, LA parties still continue to sell out after nearly 6 years.
SAN FRANCISCO & LAZY BEAR WEEKEND
San Francisco's launch party happened at Club 8 a week after the Folsom St Fair in October 2007 with DJs Paul Goodyear and Phill Mezzatesta (Melbourne). Like its "Club 80" namesake in Melbourne, the first SF party went off and this resulted in WoofClub becoming the Closing Party for 2008's world-reknowned "Lazy Bear". DJs Ted Eiel (Chicago) & Jeff Lawrence (San Francisco) played the first year and then in 2009 we saw Ted teaming up with Sydney's George Roussos .
The party, attended by 700 hot men is still amongst our largest to date.