Aside from prize winnings and maybe the odd chant of “legs eleven, eighty seven” – this is not your granny’s bingo.
What has now become a global party craze was dreamed up by two friends, William Meara and Craig Reynolds, while backpacking. A fateful night at a community centre in North Iraq (whereby they played an Arabic-language drinking game involving bingo with Peshmerga army units… yes, really – their escapade even made local newspapers in their native Ireland) would lead them to develop their wildly successful Bingo Loco concept alongside Stephen Lawless.
With plenty of experience (professionally and personally) throwing “Ireland’s craziest immersive parties”, the trio took over a small underground theatre in Dublin in early 2017 for the inaugural Bingo Loco. Some 150 revellers showed up, and quickly remarked that it was the “most bizarre night out ever”. Ergo, the young men’s mission was accomplished.
But, what exactly is Bingo Loco? As the name suggests, it takes the traditional notion of the antiquated game and spins it on its head. Think a glow stick rave with epic music, dance-offs, crazy costumes, lip-sync battles, conga lines, outrageous props, confetti showers, and a lot of prizes you really don’t want to win, like say, a sack of coal. Although holidays to Las Vegas have also been bestowed on some lucky guests! Fast forward two years and Bingo Loco has become nothing short of an entertainment phenomenon in its birth place of Dublin and beyond.
“We’re adventurous backpackers at the core of it all. Conflicted between the desire to build a Bingo Loco empire and travel the world, we decided to bring Bingo Loco with us wherever we wanted to go. In the last six months, Bingo Loco has gone to the UK, Australia, Canada and the US,” Bingo Loco’s minister for mischief/director William Meara told Lonely Planet.
Impressively, every single event has sold out – and Bingo Loco has entertained an estimated 75,000 people annually. “We’re only getting started. We know where the Irish abroad are and we know exactly how they like to party. They help us fill venues and get the show started while we work on spreading the word to the locals,” he added. “People deserve better than being charged too much merely to be left with a dance floor, an average DJ and over-priced drinks. They deserve to be entertained and that’s exactly what we plan to do,” he concluded.
To find out about your next wild night out, visit here.
Word to the wise: leave your senior citizen relatives at home for this one.