Nearing the end of the 23rd year of lively GAY PARTIES in Bournemouth, BOLTS is having a name change and a rebrand to fit with the NEW, SUPER SEXY, DIVINE .....OPERA HOUSE ...... CIRCUS was BORN !!! Rewind to 1984, and the first superclub outside of London had opened in sleepy Bournemouth – The Academy. It boasted huge hydraulic lighting rigs, awesome Argon lasers, big sound, big stage, big dancefloor. In a word, BIG. It had won industry awards for design, and swept the board as Nightclub of the Year. Now, following the example of London’s Hippodrome, it wanted to reach the growing gay market.
The opening night saw queues around the block, with buses and coaches arriving from all over the south of England. Bournemouth Bolts had well and truly arrived. For the first three years it ran weekly, every Sunday night, attracting a loyal crowd of over 500, who’d be queuing at 8.00pm for the doors to open (the laws at the time demanded that the club shut at 12.00 on Sundays!).
The music was totally “up” and “gay” – Hi Energy, Eurobeat, Bananarama, Divine, Dead Or Alive, Bronski Beat, So Many Men So Little Time……and it worked brilliantly with the Academy’s flashy, all-American look.
A major feature of Bournemouth Bolts was the big name acts that appeared on stage. During those early years virtually every Hi NRG/Disco Star made an appearance: Divine, The Weather Girls, Gloria Gaynor, Hazell Dean, Evelyn Thomas, Sylvester, Sharon Redd, Seventh Avenue, Sinitta, Miquel Brown, Kelly Marie, Angie Gold, Boy George, Boney M, Take That, Sonia, Army Of Lovers, Kym Mazelle and more recently Bananrama, Kele Le Roc, Threase, Angie Brown, Lisa Scott Lee, The Cheeky Girls........
The Bank Holiday Parties had become a legend on the scene, and people still travelled to them from far and wide. “House” was definitely the driving force musically now, with a slightly harder edge starting to develop as “Techno” introduced new sounds. Any big, camp anthem was still very popular though (Kylie, Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Snap, Dina Carroll…!)