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Reviews & News

02 Dec 2019

J.P. Mortier - Montreal, QC



Well, it’s now a couple of weeks since my Western Canadian tour has ended. The last show was in Toronto on November 5th. After a bit of time to recover, tie up some loose ends, run errands and start the quest for a new day job, I feel I can look back and relate a few of the events that happened that I did not have time to write about and post online. The challenge of the last tour was that the driving and the shows themselves took a toll on the timing of my social media so I have a couple of blogs and stories which I feel are worth sharing even if they happened well over a month ago.

One of the fun things about touring is meeting new people and making new friends. This tour was especially rich in meeting folks that were kind, helpful and genuinely caring. One of these people was Richard F. D. Brown, owner of the best little venue in all of British Columbia. A venue called…. The Venue.
When I booked the tour earlier this year, I got in touch with a friend, Louie Cupello, a booker from Eastern B.C. On the previous tour, Louie helped me get a couple of gigs together notably in Cranbrook and Nelson. I called him up to get me a few more shows in small towns so I could add a few dates in between Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
This time, Louie helped securing gigs in Saskatoon, Medicine Hat, Winlaw, Kimberley and Creston, B.C. I had driven through Creston a few times on previous tours. It’s a small town of about 12,000 and I was not considering it as a possible addition but Louie knew Rick and recommended the Venue. So it was booked for October 3rd.
Now October 3rd was a Thursday night and up to that point, the Venue only opened on Fridays and Saturdays but I was booked elsewhere and the third was the only night where I could schedule a gig. Louie was able to convince Rick and the gig was confirmed.
Let me tell you: that was the best venue on the tour and one of the best places I ever played.
Rick Brown is not only a music fan, he is a musician himself… and also a handyman / carpenter. Rick, like many people, had visions of being a musician and playing in a band and while attempting to do so, he learned about different aspects of live music gaining an expertise about sound, stage and programming shows. He realized that many of his friends also had musical aspirations and owned instruments. So he started to organize little shows and BBQs in his backyard inviting his musical friends to participate in the fun.
From these humble beginnings, he saw the potential of running a small venue. In his own words, he “saw a real need for not just an intimate coffee house venue but more importantly, a place that performers could call their own. A place they could ‘get their chops’ so to speak, where they could learn and grow and eventually perform.” Rick had moved to Creston, B.C. At that time, the local music venue, a place called “The Snoring Sasquatch” had just closed its doors. A little over a year ago, Rick bought a little building that used to be a church called the Faith Center. With his handyman skills, he was able to build a stage, sound system and build a venue that is both intimate and functional.
There are couches and comfortable chairs. The sound is good and Rick has plans to improve it. He recently installed a LED projector and 12 x 6 feet screen.
The venue is not only ideal for musical events but it is also great for art, a community center and even movie showings.
The coziness of the place is all well and good but I believe that what makes this venue special is the warmth and community feel of the place provided by Rick and his friends, volunteers and collaborators.
They greeted me with open arms when I was there. Rick let me crash out at the venue for the night. His friends, Rudy Sager and Warren Bruns treated me to breakfast the next morning. Rudy helped financially making my event possible. The sense of community was beyond words. I just hoped that my performance was up to par with the warmth of their welcome.
If any of my musician friends are reading this, I invite them to check out or get booked at The Venue, the best little venue in B.C.

Creston Spring Trade Show, April 26 - 27

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