If you’re accustomed to the nightlife scene in Montreal you have more than likely heard about the existence of a party reachable only by SMS. The mystery around Moonshine and its peculiar way of organizing what are now internationally known as moonlit soirées, has put its organizers and affiliated artists on the map as one of the most anticipated parties in the city. It came as no surprise that when they approached our very football club The Ringleaders for a friendly match a few years ago, that it was the start of a strong collaborative friendship. Last summer we launched our first midnight cup, and if you’ve never heard of it let me explain what it is. It’s basically a 3 against 3 football match, in a cage, inside of Moonshine’s event, aka happening in the middle of a rave. If you think that’s wild, well that would be an understatement. The first midnight cup was a huge success, so for the second edition, we released a capsule celebrating its existence and I sat with Angelo to discuss how this ambitious idea came to him. 


“Okay yeah. So, I want to say 2008 that’s when I had the idea. I had the idea and even had a logo—a little owl. And what we wanted to do was…Well, the Saputo stadium was about to open and we [Ringleaders] wanted to break in. We wanted to break in and be the first ones to play on it at midnight. Yeah, the Saputo Stadium where the Impacts played, we wanted to break in and be the first ones to play on the field.”


Disappointingly, he didn’t have the balls to do it but the idea always lived at the back of his mind. Fast forward to a few years after—on his way back from a trip to Europe—the missing key to achieving this dream of his came to him as abruptly as Zidane’s head-butt in 2006.


I’ve always wanted to do this midnight cup thing and since we became friends with moonshine boys, like you know, Hervé, Pierre Kwenders and Nissan […] I was in the airplane and I was like itching to do this thing but I was like ‘oh my God, why don’t I talk to the boys and see if I could do it with them?’ Cause they have, you know, their thing going on and it’s awesome. Everybody loves it and they love soccer and a few years ago they started a soccer team called Wakanda and you know we collaborated on a jersey together and we’d play Ringleaders VS Wakanda. And I don’t know why I never thought about it before, so it’s only coming back from Paris that I was like ‘oh shit let me fucking speak to Hervé and see what he thinks’. So, I called them up as soon as I landed and I was like ‘dude we’ve got to meet’ and he was really interested. So, last year was the first one and this year was number two and we got very ambitious about this event”


For Angelo, the midnight cup is similar to the way wrestling works: the same way it has the Royal Rumble in January and the Summer Slam in August, RFC has the Frostbite Cup in winter and the Midnight Cup in summer. And just like wrestling, you need to think about practicality and risks. You can’t have a soccer ball being kicked around a rave, especially if Rocco is the one kicking it. So that’s where the cage comes in—and it’s a rooftop event in Japan where they had people playing soccer in a cage on top of the building that inspired Angelo to have us play in one. Now when it comes to risks, you’re bound to have them when you put 6 people who’ve had one too many drinks in a small enclosure running around while loud Afrobeat music is playing in the back, but that’s part of the fun.


“Tu te fais emporté inside” he says. 


When it comes to the capsule collection, which was designed by OG Ringleaders Bart Graziana, it encapsulates magnificently the energy of the event. 

“So, Bart, who is an original Ringleaders member, he’s in LA now. But that’s kind of how we function. So, Bart was getting married and I was like a little late on this and I was like ‘yo I don’t know if you have time but I hope you have time’ so he pulled through. So, he had this concept where last year he came up with the facts of praising NYX, which is like the Greek Goddess of the Night and I was like that fits the concept perfectly. And so, he brought back the idea this year again and made this capsule with like these Greek kind of statues and whatever, and the moon and moonshine on it signed Ringleaders. And we made this little neck wallet that I’m really proud. But yeah, neck wallet, t-shirts and we fucked up, we should’ve done shorts but I didn’t think about it.”


When asked where he sees this going in the next editions Angelo speaks about expanding the tournament to hopefully invite other teams to play along with us. The requirements? To have a concept and fresh energy.


“Your team name has to be cool and you have to have a uniform concept and we want to keep the circus side of things to this you know, I’m in the entertainment business that’s what Ringleaders—that’s what we do. I don’t want it to become like a street style soccer thing, like a competition where there’s amazing players that show up and do footwork and I don’t want, it’s not that, that’s not what I want. I want entertainment, visuals, uniforms, you know and you want to make your hair purple, you make it purple! This thing is amazing. I’m blessed”


So, for the future, expect a lot of new initiatives for the Midnight Cup. New teams, new potential collaborations I’m not allowed to disclose, and shorts. Next time Angelo won’t forget the shorts.


Design: Bart Graziana

Photos: Gildas Awuye & Celia Spenard-Ko