Having been to not one but FIVE of their Manchester shows – you could say we’re true fans. They head up shows around the UK, Ibiza, Australia, Dubai with even more locations in the pipeline.
On my first visit, I was crowned the winner of the dance off and won £700 after attempting to do the worm (more like the slug) on stage against a very flexible older lady who was much more skilled than me. True story.
The Ibiza show runs every Wednesday from 21st June at Ibiza Rocks Bar and as you can imagine, was as lively as ever with an inflatable flamingo, giant unicorn and bottles of booze to name but a few of the prizes and the rave round went down in true Ibiza style.
And if you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years and are wondering who on earth Bongo is and why he’s playing bingo – don’t sweat it. We caught up with co-founder Josh and newly recruited host, Rich to get the 411…
How would you describe Bongo’s Bingo?
Josh: We can’t explain it to people that’s one of the problems but it kind of helps in our favour – people take it upon themselves to explain it to their friends. There are elements of comedy, guilty pleasures, music, a rave and even a dance off if people call bingo at the same time – as you know
Rich: I think it’s just somewhere anyone can go no matter what age they are. You can actually take your mum or your nan. It’s full of aunties, it’s full of students, even goths
J: You get goths and nans dancing on the tables together
R: A goth might not like one tune but the next one they’re up there dancing. There’s something for everyone
How did you come up with the idea?
J: I’d been doing events for quite a while and had thought about doing a bingo night that targeted a broader audience and had loads of music. I asked Jonny (a.k.a Johnny Bongo the co-founder) if he fancied hosting it and he was actually looking to start his own bingo night anyway, so he brought all these bizarre elements to it that didn’t really make sense on paper. We did our first show just over two years ago at Camp and Furnace in Liverpool, we weren’t expecting much but it sold out and we just went from there
Why do you think it’s been such a hit?
J: It’s got a really broad appeal, we do a lot of midweek events that only students can go to but the weekend shows can have anyone from 18-80 playing
What does a typical day look like for you guys?
J: There’s so much going on really. A lot of promotion stuff, I’m travelling all over the place, looking at new venues and building the team
What’s the best thing about your job?
J: The travelling. And the worst thing as well, you’re living out of a suitcase. I’ve done about 46 flights so far this year and been sunburnt about ten times already. The event itself is really good to go to, it’s still nerve-wracking for me every time ‘cos I’m not in control of what happens on stage but seeing everyone having a really good time is the main reason we do it really
R: My favourite part is throwing Coco Pops over people – you’ve gotta make it rain
What’s been your most memorable Bongo’s Bingo night?
J: There’s been quite a few. David Hasselhoff calling the numbers was a bit bizarre but will stay in my mind forever. Vengaboys is always a highlight, everyone really loves them, the birthday was really special and having S Club 7 on – we’re like mates with them now
R: I really loved the Bongo & The Beanstalk Christmas pantos. To see it all come together after all the hard work for twelve nights on the run.
J: We gave away a Christmas elf – I don’t know how PC that is
R: He didn’t mind though, did he?
If you could have any special guests on the show who would it be and why?
J: We really would have liked to get Steps and All Saints but they started doing arena tours around the same time. There are always gonna be some guests that will be out of our reach until we start doing arena stuff
R: One of my mates really wants Peter Andre because Cole (one of the dancers) does Mysterious Girl at the end of every show – it would be amazing to surprise Cole
J: Also, Scooter would be amazing
What’s next for Bongo’s Bingo in 2017?
J: We’re launching in Australia in a couple of weeks’ time for a few shows and then me and Rich will be going back in August to do more shows and then possibly permanently moving there in October to do weekly shows. We’re looking at some venues in New York and L.A. this year and maybe some places in Canada, possibly Vegas and Japan – we’re not sure on a host for that one though as none of us speak Japanese
Describe yourself in three words…
Or describe each other in three words…
R: That’s on the spot that! Proper good lad. And for me as well, obviously. Very ambitious and creative
J: Big funny lad
R: Less of the big, lad
What’s on your bucket list?
R: I’m crossing off one today actually. I’ve been DJ-ing for 20 years and have never played Ibiza. I know what Josh’s will be – Bongo’s Bingo on the moon
J: (laughs) We wanna try and break a World Record but we can’t seem to find one for the highest ever bingo game
I really can’t live without…
At the weekend I can be found…
J: Oh no
My special skills are…
R: Picking the right tune at the right time
If I was an emoji I’d be…
R: The cool guy with the shades
J: The one that’s stressed, probably. Or the cig emoji
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