When the idea of organising the 1st Rockabilly Bash occured to us, we didn’t have any single doubt about where to make it. Cruise Inn seemed to be a perfect place to all of us. Unfortunately it can house only around 300 people, but the place itself is fantastic. Not because of having a nice history and being one of the most popular rock’n’roll club for years, but also because of a special atmosphere you will never find in another place. When you get in, you feel like you are at some family party. That’s right, rock’n’roll family party. It seems you have never met those people before, but they treat you like they know you for years. Smiles, small chats, fooling around, dancing at every coner (by the bar, by the door, everywhere you can find a free space), buying a drink… well, if you are there you would hate to leave. And when you do (sorry, but you have to… parties do not last forever), you will return very soon. And do you know why? This place will make you addictive! Why does it have so special “aura”? Let’s look into the history and walk through it to nowadays.
The Cruise Inn was founded in December 1982 by a Rock and Roll gang called "The Bop Cats". It was a small group of young people who sewed a patch with their gang name on their leather jackets during the late seventies/early eighties. They started out with just 5 to 10 guys and girls and their gang soon grew to about 40 people. Having a big gang like that, they needed a clubhouse. One of them told he knows an old wooden shed at the eastern part of Amsterdam, which used to be a former church and after that a discotheque. Considering it wasn't being used at that particular time, they took their oppurtunity and confiscated the building. They fixed up the place here and there, installed some fifties gear, made a bar, a dj boot, a small stage for bands, etc.
However, due to the new plans made by the city of Amsterdam, the shed had to be taken down. A lot of volunteers who made the Cruise for what it stands now, didn't accept this and some of them were negotiating with city hall to arrange a new location. And it worked. Because the Bopcats and regular visitors had built and made their own Cruise Inn from the first till the last brick, they decided to break it down by themselves. This happened on a demolition party on the 9th of December 1999. Luckily the new location was very near to the original one and also had the look of wooden shed, only the “new” one.
The speciality of this club is still left - all people who works there are volunteers. They don't receive salary, the money for entrance and drinks is going for paying out the bands and bills. It's very funny sometimes to see people walking around, dancing and having fun, and next minute they are already standing behind the bar and serving the other guests. Really amazing!
One more thing I must mention – the D-Day of Cruise Inn, “one time a year” summer event. Absolutely free and always with very impressive line ups. It starts quite early, with a big stage outside (keeping inside of Cruise Inn for dancing and drinking) and gives you all opportunity to come with family, to look for a new records, clothes, shoes and accessories. All stalls are also located outside, so you have a feeling of market (wish they had that kind of markets every week in Holland!). After shopping is done, just get yourself (and friends… old and new ones) a beer and sit on the grass watching all those happy people around and enjoying the music.
It is magnificent place! Well, you must try Cruise Inn out one day. And you will see it with your own eyes and feel it with your own heart. See you there!
For other suprising discoveries visit Cruise Inn Website