It was only a matter of time, but dark imagery and creepy subcultures have irrefutably infiltrated pop culture. From fans of music genres like death metal and industrial to adherents of retro and retro-futuristic art movements such as Edwardianism and steampunk, folks who wear predominant amounts of eerie clothing are everywhere, but short of gathering in their respective niches for concerts and conventions, there are few events that bring the black masses together for a grand hootenanny.
Bats Day not only does this–for what has grown into a three-day event–but the event cuts right into the heart of the most genteel of pop culture icons; for, the culmination of Bats Day is a swarming of creatures of the night into Disneyland for "Bats Day in the Fun Park." The two days which precede the dark wave are filled with varieties of events, which have included concerts, contests, a marketplace, and a masquerade. Noah Korda, who goes by "Noah K," is the heart of Bats Day, and he was happy to shed some light on this celebration of darkness.
OC Weekly (Scott Feinblatt): How did Bats Day grow from a bunch of friends going to Disneyland into a three-day event with thousands of attendees?
Noah K: I never thought that this event would grow to the size it has become. It was just something that I started with a small group of friends that only wanted to do it one time. I had so much fun that I convinced the others to do it again the following year. By the third year, they had thought that I had things under control and decided to let me continue to run the event on my own.
It wasn't until about the fourth year that I realized that not only were there people coming from all over California and all over the country, but also people were coming from other countries, only for one day at Disneyland. For the fifth year, I decided to add an event at a hotel, and from there I would keep adding different events over the years, to where the event has now grown from a start of 90 people for a one day trip to Disneyland to over an expected 7,000 people at Disneyland for Bats Day in the Fun Park and about 3,000 people at the hotel events on the days before.
As for the actual Day in the Park, what — apart from the Haunted Mansion — is it about Disneyland that appeals to Goth folks?
I am not really sure. I love the event because I am running [it] as an event that I would love to attend. I think everyone has his or her own agenda when it comes to a spooky trip to Disneyland. Mostly I think everyone who goes just enjoys being themselves while going to Disneyland.
How do you decide which of the eight events will be featured as the activities for the Bats Day weekend on a given year?
Over the years we have done different events, and we see what works and what doesn't work, always retooling the event to see what the public likes. The Bats Day Black Market is now in its 11th year and seems to be very popular, with all the different things that one can buy. The Bats Day Black Market will always be the standard at the weekend events. Come on, where else can you find something spooky with over 70 vendors and exhibitors for the spooky something in your life?
Are the vendors for Bats Day Black Market local? If not, what are some of the places they travel from?
Most of the vendors do originate from the California area, but we do get a lot from Washington, Oregon and even Texas.
Beyond OC and LA, do you get guests making pilgrimages from other parts of the country? World?
I have been told that this event seems to be that one vacation event that people from the Goth and dark subculture really want to attend. I know over the years we have had attendees that come from all over the country, but also from other countries, like: England, Spain, France, Brazil and Canada just to name a few.
Another of your Bats Day events includes a sort of scavenger hunt called "Bats Day Scream Prize Twitter Days." Would you give an example of the types of SCREAM PRIZES that you reveal clues about via Twitter?
It seems that we were the originators of using Twitter to do the Scream Prize Giveaway. What usually happens is that we will give a clue, in the form of a question, to a location that we would be at, and then we would also give a code word or phrase that you would need to say to one of the Bats Day Staff. The first person who locates that Bats Day Staff member and says the code [word] wins the prize that is being given away. We give away things that [vary from items that] have been donated from the sponsors of the event to tickets to the following year's event.
How do you solicit contributions for the Bats Day art gallery, called Gallery999?
We tend to get a lot of people seeking us out to be apart of the Gallery999 shows. We like to mix up the artists from year to year so that the shows don't get stale, but we do have a few regular artists that we enjoy having.
How many people will attend this year?
We are expecting that there will be about 6,000-7,000 people coming just for the spooky trip to Disneyland on Sunday May 31. Also about 3,000 people are expected to attend over the first 2 days (Friday & Saturday) of the Hotel events.
What is Disney's attitude towards this event?
The attitude with Disney seems to be that they accept and acknowledge the event but they don't support it.
Bats Day takes place at Disneyland May 29-31. For additional information, visit the Bats Day site.