In 1969 a typical small Belgian farm café named “De Oude Hoeve” was situated in Vrasene, Flanders-Belgium. It was very popular because of it’s dance contests which took place on Sundayafternoon from 15h00 up to 18h00.
Motown and soul music were mostly played and the dances were typical for that time and it’s music styles. One of those dances was the “soul-swing” which later on evolved into the “popcorn-swing”!
Because of the huge success the café became too small to receive all the dance addicts, so the staff decided to annex another building in order to make the place bigger.
Once the renovation finished, a new name needed to be given and the James Brown’s hit song called “The popcorn” was the appropriate inspiring name to inaugurate the new dance club.
In the beginning the opening days were Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon. Later on it opened only on Sundays from 13h00 until 22h00.
Around the year 1975, the “POPCORN” became so popular and famous that it attracted people from foreign countries such as the Netherlands, France, Germany, England and Italy.
THE “POPCORN MUSIC” TERM:
Because of the dance club’s huge popularity, people referred to “popcorn music” to define the sound of music played by the D.J.’s in” the Popcorn” .
THE CONTINUING STORY:
Popcorn music became so much in vogue that a lot of similar dance clubs opened their doors to the big public.
For example, “The Golden Gate” in Retie, “The Festival” in Antwerp, “De Viertap” in Rillaar, “The Gatsby” in Vliermaal, “The Versailles” in Oostende, etc.
Other dance clubs played that music too yet at a lesser frequency.
Besides the specialized popcorn record shops, some popcorn records could also be found in regular record stores.
Other style of music artists started to make popcorn like songs and regular radio stations had popcorn programs on the air.
Actually a whole generation was influenced by this music style.
In the 8O’s popcorn music became less popular due to several reasons. People were building up careers, new music like disco brought popcorn music back to it’s original specific club scene.
In the following years from then “The Popcorn” received their customers in the old section and the bigger section was only opened on special occasions.
THE END OF THE POPCORN:
On Saturday 20th December 2003, after 33 years “The Popcorn” definitively closed it’s doors to the public.
Due to the efforts of the popcorn D.J .’s and the popcorn record collectors, a lot of popcorn parties are organized all over Belgium.
The generation from before found back their way to these dance events.
– Nobody knows! But, nowadays we can find popcorn record collectors all over the world! Of course in Belgium, but also in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, England, USA,
Australia, Sweden and even Japan!
– Big international record sellers are familiar with the term popcorn music, they name it “Belgian Popcorn sound”.
– Popcorn parties are now organized in Belgium, but also in the Netherlands, England, Germany, Italy and France.
– Some dance schools are teaching the popcorn swing.
– Popcorn radio programs exists on local radio stations and on web stream.
– A new generation is discovering this wonderful music.
So, I think that this wonderful Belgian phenomena has found his legitimate place in music history and by making part of history one becomes immortal!
Popcorn is here to stay!!
D.J . Ron