Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Gruff and growing

Toronto’s Pitbull party celebrates its fifth anniversary of hairy entertainment

Stephen Palmer and Francis Gaudreault — the furry men behind Pitbull events. Credit: Max Lander

Francis Gaudreault and Steve Palmer never imagined that what started out as a simple party with like-minded friends would turn into such a rabid success. March 2015 is a big milestone for Pitbull — their events promotion company — celebrating five years of bringing together hunks of hirsute men and those who love them. The puppy has grown into a Toronto success story chewing out to more than just nighttime events. Daily Xtra talks to alpha male, Francis Gaudreault, about the journey.

Daily Xtra: Pitbull isn’t just about a Saturday night party anymore, is it?

Francis Gaudrealt: We’re going more into lifestyle. We’ve expanded to vacations, an annual cruise, 200 guys on a ship for a week, nightclubs and excursions. We do a camping weekend, taking over an entire campground and turning it into a riot.

Who gets a big thanks for getting you this far?

Steve and I have a lot of experience working in the Village. We wouldn’t be as successful if the Village hadn’t supported us. We try to return it by working with local bars, clubs, DJs as much as we can. There are people who have been with us since the beginning. I want them to come help celebrate.

What are your favourite moments?

The first time we had a party at Fly, then at Phoenix, but I’d have to say my favourite would be the first Pride we did at the Phoenix, which was a huge event with 1,200 guys. The vibe was so fantastic especially for a first year of a big event like that. It was such a rush. We didn’t have the expectation of attracting 1500 people and traveling across the country doing Pitbull either.

What are you doing this year to celebrate Pibull’s fifth Anniversary?

We brought back DJ Gordon John from London. DJ Mark Falco is opening for him. Big Dipper from New York is performing five songs including “Meat Quotient ” and  “Da Money.” We’ve never had a singer before. Faye Slift is always great with incredible outfits and fantastic backup dancers. We have surprises during the entire night; like entertainment, shows and giveaways.

Tell us about what’s to come.

We’re adding to the formula a little bit for 2015. We’re going to be in Vancouver three times before Pride. When I say change, it’s not that we want to become an all-ages event or a rave or anything. We change so that it stays modern and fresh. We still want to maintain the social option to meet people and not just come and dance. We’re expanding to Atlanta.  We’re working with Bearracuda and Heretic to make our cruise bigger. Expansion is now the next step. I didn’t think we’d get this far but it’s been really fun getting here.