Move over, Nashville! There’s a player in the LGBT club scene, and it’s just down the road in the ’Boro! That’s right, folks. Murfreesboro doesn’t just have a club with gay nights anymore: Ignite has gone all gay.
At first, the club was prepared for a gradual transformation, but because of the popularity of gay “theme” nights, the bar transformed itself in practically the blink of an eye! Naturally, Out and About Nashville had to check this place out and deliver all the details on the newest and hottest gay happening in the ’Boro.
The bar’s owner, Troy Janes, is a very experienced club owner, and he has been personally involved with the entire project, from top to bottom, personally driving and overseeing the transition. Janes excitedly discussed the big plans he has in store for all the club goers in the area, and with 8 years of experience owning and operating bars, there is little doubt he’ll be a success this time.
This time, you ask? That’s right, a lot of people don’t know that Janes tried delving into the LGBT club scene in Murfreesboro back in 1998 at Bongo Johnny’s, but Murfreesboro wasn’t ready. In the years since, MTSU has grown and has a thriving LGBT group on campus, and the area has a much larger gay community than even a few years ago. This inspired Janes to give it another shot with Ignite, and so far all his bets are paying off.
Janes is committed to offering the LGBT community around Murfreesboro a high quality experience, an alternative to Nashville. In order to meet or beat their expectations, Janes likes to maintain close contact with his clientele and to solicit feedback about their experience at his club. That feedback is driving his plans for development, and he promises a lot of great things coming down the pipeline for his guests.
Janes’s commitment to running a quality LGBT club in Murfreesboro—and the persistence he showed in trying again—is even more remarkable, given a surprising fact: even though he has a lot of gay friends and is very close with the local LGBT community, Janes himself isn’t LGBT. I found this fascinating, because you don’t normally see straight allies running LGBT clubs, especially in places like Murfreesboro.
The night I visited, Ignite was packed with faces familiar from around the Nashville scene. The club was very nice, overall, with a large, well-decorated bar and lounge area out front, and a smaller show bar in the back. (There are plans to reverse the arrangement, so the larger area will be the show bar.) Ignite’s main show pays homage to the golden days of drag, featuring cast members from places like the “Warehouse.”
Don’t worry, though. If old school drag isn’t your flavor, they have a huge list of amazing performers coming up that is sure to fulfill whatever drag craving you have! The night I visited, for instance, there was clear excitement in the air, as a large crowd had come to see RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 1 contestant Victoria ‘Porkchop’ Parker. She graced the stage with show-stopping performances and her funny antics.
All in all, I enjoyed my visit. Everyone was very friendly, and although I didn’t get to interact much with the cast, I got to speak with many customers. One patron said, “I'm kinda over the whole Nashville scene. The queens there always do similar things, drink prices are too high, plus you have to pay an entry fee. I just don’t wanna drive forty-five minutes to get the same exact experience I got last week!”
Will Ignite affect the Nashville club scene? Only time will tell, but the night I was there a lot of the signs point to Ignite growing into a force to be reckoned with. Ignite probably won’t cut too deeply into Play’s bottom line, but locals love having an alternative in their own back yard. So, it looks like things are just heating up at Ignite!
On October 31, club owner Troy Janes told us, "I've put as much time and effort into the bar that I could and unfortunately time ran out and I was forced to shut down the bar immediately. We met some great people in Murfreesboro and hopefully soon someone will come in and reopen another [bar] here."