Back in April, Scene dining editor Douglas Trattner reported on the opening of FWD Dayclub + Nightclub Cleveland, a new seasonal, open-air nightclub in the Flats East Bank. The club, which features a 4,000-square-foot pool and deck area with a full bar, elevated decking and custom day beds, is now open. It’s situated right on the Cuyahoga River and offers views of both the river and of Lake Erie. Train tracks run right behind the club. The pool will be an amenity to people living in nearby apartments during the day but then will be a members-only club on weekends and at night.
The place can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. FWD is mainly an open-air venue, but about 2,000 square feet is covered and can provide protection from the weather when needed. The place doesn’t serve food (and doesn’t intend to serve food), but you can bring your own grub or order from the surrounding restaurants. After a “soft opening” held earlier this month, the club is officially open and will play host to a “Sunset Pool Party” — reportedly the first of its kind in Cleveland — on Friday, Aug. 14, when DVBBS, a Canadian EDM act comprised of brothers Alex and Chris, performs.
“We’ve run into people who don’t get the concept and can’t wrap their brain around it,” says promoter and occasional Scene contributing writer Will Burge, who has booked the EDM duo DVBBS to play the club and plans to book at least one act a month while the club is open in the summer months. Burge runs the local promotions and events company Witty Entertainment with his business partner, event coordinator/operations manager Jena Gura. He says FWD offers a unique opportunity for promoters. He and Gura are speaking to us one recent afternoon while the FWD pool is being filled from the nearby hydrant and construction crews are hammering away at the container-like structure as they put the finishing touches on the club, which, as much as it attempts to mimic the pool clubs in Las Vegas, still has Cleveland characteristics (a smoke stack is situated in the middle of the main bar and the club is surrounded by the type of containers you see on railways).
DVBBS has performed at festivals such as TomorrowWorld in Atlanta, TomorrowLand in Belgium, EDC in Las Vegas and Ultra Music Festival in Miami. It’s a social media sensation with more than 3.7 Million Facebook likes, 400 Million YouTube views and 558,000 Twitter followers. The duo is ranked as a top-20 DJ act in the world and has had platinum albums in over 10 countries. Their song “We Were Young” was used as the soundtrack for the American Idol Season 14: Time to Strike Gold. The song has a soaring vocal track and features the kind of ricocheting beats that typify most contemporary dubstep tunes.
“We’re excited about DVBBS because we did our first [EDM] event in February,” says Burge. “It was an indoor EDM festival. We didn’t want to shove a DJ into a nightclub. We wanted to find a different element and do something that had a different feel and elevated what’s happening in the EDM scene in Cleveland, which is lacking, not from a fan standpoint but from a promoter standpoint. DVBBS won’t go to Agora or House of Blues. They only want to play festivals and outdoor pool parties so this fit that bill. They were originally in a rock band in Canada and they switched genres and then things too off. This will be the biggest EDM brought into town this summer that’s not playing at Jacob’s Pavilion at Nautica. These guys are wild. They crowd surf and spray champagne.”
“They’re like your typical rock stars,” says Gura.
The club even has a “quiet area” where you can escape the music. But, as Burge points out, “with this sound system, there is no quiet area.” The club’s sound system is a Funktion-One sound system.
“It’s the first in North America,” says Burge. “It’s top of the line and elite. Vegas clubs haven’t even installed this system yet. It’s the first of its kind and it got put in here. Because the sound system is so good, it’s really focused and you can’t hear it outside in the parking lot.”
The event includes several ticket tiers and VIP tickets offer access to the pool and the VIP dance floor behind the DJ booth. Cabanas with bottle service are available as well.
“This brings an element that hasn’t been here before,” Burge says of the club. “There have never been pool parties in Cleveland and there aren’t many outdoor clubs. The pool is different and people are excited about it. And we’re really excited about it too. It has a uniqueness to it so that every big artist in the genre will want to perform here.”
DVBBS, 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, FWD, 1176 Front Ave., 216-417-6282. Tickets: $40-$1000, wittyent.com.