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Stage-host LOVE: Making the artists feel at home

Eclectic and chic, LOVE represents the other colourful half of the electronic-spectrum in Brussels today. Born from the same mind that brought us the memorable ’Dirty Dancing’ parties during 10 years, this year’s LOVE stage will host legendary Acid Pauli, &ME, Agoria & many more! The main man behind LOVE is ATTAR! who celebrates his 3rd year at our festival and made an incredible podcast for us. 



Everything started twenty years ago, when at just 17 years old, Renaud Deru took his first steps into organising music events with regular private vinyl sales in his parents cellar. The creator of the LOVE party concepts and stage-host at Paradise City was doing his DJ debuts with a monthly gig on a boat, when he met business partner Xavier Lafontaine with whom he organised “Movida” their first electronic parties.

With frequent travels to London, Renaud got inspired by the eclectic English party scene and wanted to bring some of it home to Brussels. He booked the band 2many DJs at the now infamous club Mirano, equipped it with a massive sound system and blew the night out of proportion with over 2000 attendees. It was the one-shot party that changed it all. It goes without saying that this little experiment didn’t go unnoticed. Party-lover Lorenzo Serra got in touch with Renaud to see if they could create something together. The Mirano was about to close his doors. With a 6 months lease to remain, the owner gave a free-pass to this young duo to do what they wanted and make it work.

It was 2003, Dirty Dancing was born.

For the next ten years, the weekly club-night at Mirano turned the Brussels party scene upside down. Booking names like Laurent Garnier, Agoria, Felix Da Housecat, Brodinski, Justice, Patrice Baumel, Vitalic and spotting young talents like Stephen Bodzin at his early beginnings, Dirty Dancing influenced local promoters and collectives ‘till today.

The idea was simple: Start a club where communities would come together and educate the audience to what they were listening to (also thanks to the creation of a little magazine where they would write about the DJs they invited).

Alongside many others, Dirty Dancing contributed to the development of an un-existing (or at the very least, different) club culture in Brussels back then. They promoted electronic music to a larger audience and showed that one could dance to music without lyrics.

The early 2000’s were to Belgium what the 90’s were to Berlin. The birth and rise of a new club culture.

Getting more popular year by year, Renaud and Lorenzo’s club-night attracted bigger names and larger crowds. With a queue of 2500 hopefuls for a 1200 limited club-capacity, there was a tight selection at the door. Showing off your eccentricity could help you get a spot at the party. Renaud remembers “One day a guy showed up wearing a polo shirt and shiny shoes. He was surprised he couldn’t get in. ‘Sorry you are not at Jeux d’hivers, this is a real party’ told him the doorman – ‘Is it okay if i take off my shirt and pants then?’ asked the guy. It was. He took off his clothes, put them in a bag and danced in his underwear the whole night. He had such a great time, he came back each week with a different costume.”

In 2009, the duo Serra-Deru left Mirano to start “Libertine Supersport” at the then latest venue K-NAL. When the Club closed in 2011, the duo split-up. The Libertines continued for a few more editions elsewhere and Renaud retired into his studio to concentrate on music production, touring under DJ-name ATTAR! and venture into new businesses (Jealousy and Vertigo).

Like all best things in life, Dirty Dancing and a-likes came to a glorious end to leave place to a new and flourishing electronic landscape in Brussels.

Bringing back the magic

Love is only a few years old and is Renaud’s latest party concept. Happening at a spot nearby the Palais de Justice, on the uphills of the city, Love is the bright and colourful monthly dancing rendez-vous for the 30-something who want to wear their heels and drink cocktails in shiny glasses.

If some of the crowd might seem familiar, it isn’t a trial at reviving the old Dirty-Dancing days which are long gone.“What was possible twenty years ago has changed today. Whether it’s the economic recess or the high booking fees of a DJ, doing it for 1500 people every week, i couldn’t do that anymore. But it remains the same brains which thought both concepts, … I haven’t changed my vision of the nightlife.”

To Renaud it’s all about creating those unique qualities that make it attractive to a new audience who will favour the atmosphere and friendships of an event (club-night or festival), while being in for a pleasant musical ride.

The call for Paradise

Much before the start of the first edition, Paradise City’s festival organisers Gilles De Decker and Dimitri Verschueren reached out to Renaud for collaboration. They shared the same visions and musical views. He became the very first host stage at Paradise City. Just like an old married couple, it was meant to be.

“I feel like an uncle to this project, I want to promote it and share it with everyone around me. Gilles & Dimitri work with such clarity, I think it’s admirable. They have created a festival which I find very qualitative. This idea of being green creates a lot of extra challenges, it isn’t the easiest way.”  He further adds “There is a real difference compared to all other festivals, at Paradise you can spend a whole festival without advertising messages a bit like in Cuba, I realised how much zen and tranquility it offers”. As a stage-partner Renaud has found his place.

Furthermore, participating to Paradise City has inspired this young entrepreneur on a bigger scale “(I learned) to communicate differently, with partners and advertisers. I like to organise parties which don’t look like a football game. They really made me progress on this.  I can apply this in both my bars, working with more natural products. We avoid processed juices, we make them fresh ourselves and try to use organic products. I can’t say the ecological footprint is at a minimum in both my businesses, but there is something very peaceful at having a green-mindset more than just one weekend a year” – if not, every day.

.. and two full days of LOVE

With a LOVE signature on the stage’s whole line-up, the organisers are particularly proud to welcome Acid Pauli this year who has very rarely performed in Belgium so far.

Eclectic tunes, unique LIVE-sets and deep harmonies are planned throughout the whole two days of this stage (Friday and Saturday) with names such as Robag Wruhme, Frankey & Sandrino, YokoO and Patrice Baumel.

One particular signature to Paradise City and their stage-hosts is linking artists to the festival by bringing them back every year (like Agoria). They believe that it’s by creating this regularity that they make the artists feel at home and magic happens! Renaud concludes “But, Acid Pauli, he is above everything!” the Paradise crew could not agree more.

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