Downtown Memphis has a vast variety of musical hotspots to choose from, so whether you like country, blues, jazz, rock and roll or hiphop, you are bound to find a handful of bars and nightclubs to tickle your musical fancy. Walking down the iconic Beale street, you have so many options to choose from, it could make your head spin. There is one genre of music, however, that Memphis has only recently started to accept and embrace, and that is the wonderful world of electronic dance music.
Although the selection of venues who cater to the rave heart is small, they are making waves in the scene with their killer talent, amazing production, and of course the ravers themselves. There is one venue in particular I want to focus on, and that is The Lightclub. Not to be confused with a nightclub, the Lightclub is its own special breed of dance club, with a tragic origin and a beautiful mission. Scotty Bollinger, my friend with a heart of gold, is the founder of the Lightclub. He holds the event on the first Saturday of each month in his loft/home on South Main Street in the heart of downtown Memphis.
In 1998, Scotty was three years out of high school, struggling to find his place in this world. Just like so many of us, he found love and acceptance within the rave community and was instantly hooked. He loved the mixing of the different styles of music, coupled together with the lights and lasers and the total feeling of acceptance for who he was, Scotty found a place to call home. Within a year he learned how to DJ, and began planning what was to be one of the greatest nights of his life, that turned into one of the worst nights of his life.
“It happened in the middle of a $25,000 party I threw with a friend, set with three headlining acts, a full stage production and relentless marketing. 1,000 people showed up and it was phenomenal, one of the greatest experiences of my life. But at the climax, the party hit rock bottom for me. During my set, I lost a dear friend, who collapsed and died on the dance floor. His name was Terry and he was one of my greatest supporters as a DJ. He went out of his way to promote the party. But when he showed up that night he was spooked by security at the door. He took, I’m told, all eight ecstasy pills he had on him. It was too much for his heart to take, and Terry died of an apparent overdose. Out of this tragedy, the vision of the Lightclub was born. Its simple really; offer people an alternative environment where the community and audio visual experience could satisfy, believing that a great time is awaiting without the need to chemically alter one’s reality. The name Lightclub was chosen intentionally to try and distance itself from the traditional nightclub, which tends to be dark, filled with over-sexualized music, and lending itself to getting chemically altered or wasted to escape life’s troubles. We at the Lightclub believe that there is a better way. The mission is to help people experience joy, hope and acceptance, no matter what they are going through, and to provide a place for those coming out of addiction to feel safe and have a good time. We aim to be a high energy social context that pursues a community of meaningful relationships that resemble a family and to create an environment where adults of all ages can feel welcome, regardless of who they are or where they are in their journey ” -Scotty Bollinger
Through the Lightclub, Scotty provides ravers with a safe and positive place to connect with other like minded individuals. He has given us a place to dance our problems away instead of drinking or chemically altering them away. At the Lightclub you will find an entire room replicating something out of a festival stage dream, with tons of amazing local talent, including the incredible DJ ScottyB himself! The Loft is fully stocked with a massive sound system, an intricate light show, a dance floor, a lounge area to cool down and chat with friends, and there will always be a home cooked meal by the amazing Chef Antonio Sanders! the Lightclub is nothing short of a Las Vegas VIP experience, minus the money it would cost to fund such an experience.
“Nowhere else in Memphis will you find an experience like Lightclub. From the moment you walk in the door, you can expect smiling faces, good food and awesome music! The people who frequent this marvelous event are less like friends and more like family. We look out for each other, and abide by a code of mutual respect and courtesy for all. For me personally, Lightclub has been a gateway to new friends. Ever since I started attending LC around this time last year, I have met so many new friends I can hardly count them all. If you are ever looking for a good place to have fun on a Saturday night, Lightclub is where its at!” – Benjamin Pass
The Lightclub is a FREE but private event. If you are interested in an alternative dance club experience and are in the Memphis area, all you have to do is join the Lightclub group on Facebook or join the mailing list. Once you do, you will be able to reserve your free ticket.