Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western culture, but for Scott Bollert — not to mention thousands of motorcycle fans and a lot of business owners in Port Dover — the date is anything but scary.
Enthusiastic motorcycle lovers — typical summer attendance exceeds 100,000 people — will travel to the Lake Erie hotspot next month for the second Friday the 13th Motorcycle Event of 2018.
Bollert, founder and lead singer of London-based, party-rock legends After The Lounge (ATL), will be returning for the band’s latest appearance at the Budweiser Main Stage during the big Friday extravaganza.
As exciting as it is to perform in front of such a passionate crowd, Bollert’s return to Port Dover actually holds more personal meaning as he was born and raised on a farm not far from the town’s popular beach.
“It’s kind of a hometown thing for me. It has a lot of meaning. As a kid, I remember the start of Friday the 13th, where it went from a handful of bikes to what it is now,” he said. “I don’t think anybody back then would have expected it to become what it is now. It was kind of a natural, organic build for something like that to happen.”
Although the celebration started as a small event among a group of friends in 1981, it has grown into a tourist attraction that has been embraced by not only the locals, but by literally millions of visitors over the event’s history.
ATL first played at Friday the 13th a dozen years ago, although Bollert admits — with a knowing laugh — he doesn’t actually remember the first show.
“It was 12 years ago,” he said. “And I since I can’t recall the first time, it was probably a very good time.”
Being back home always means a lot to Bollert.
Bollert has written a lot of ATL’s songs while back home in Norfolk County, particularly on the beach at Turkey Point.
Recently, he adds, the band’s newest creation — a song in the works currently called Sunshine — gives specific reference to Norfolk County.
Like with the Friday the 13th event itself, Bollert has been a steady climb to success.
After the Lounge has played major concert spots with bands such as April Wine and 3 Doors Down, shows Bollert said really allowed the band to “spread our wings.”
ATL also had two opportunities over the years to open for Bollert’s favourite band, The Tragically Hip, only to have those unfortunately fall apart when the plans of various promoters fell through.
The band’s roll is continuing in 2018 as ATL will be working with superstar music producer Garth Richardson, who has worked with acts ranging from Nine Inch Nails to Taylor Swift.
ATL’s music, which has been featured in many TV shows and movies over the past decade, could soon be seeing even greater exposure. The band will be launching new music this year with the support of a publishing company in Los Angeles that works with streaming juggernaut Netflix and other major media groups.
Bollert is eager to credit the band’s latest successes to a more mature focus on their music.
That said, he’s the first to say the band still rocks with the best.
“I used to get up on a stage and run down a set of tables with a cordless mic. Now I find myself more in-depth with the music, more relaxed in my expression,” he said. “Whether that has come with maturity or the fact the songs matter more now I don’t know, but we’re more focused on what’s ahead of us. That comes across in the live shows, how happy we are, and the band is playing those songs really well.”