Concern is growing in regards to COVID-19. As of 17 March there are no known cases in the Creston valley but we need to stay vigilant to keep it that way.
Things are moving quickly with COVID-19. I've been told that our local bars are shutting down and who knows where we go after that? It looks like we're all going to be stuck at home with a TV and the Internet. I have decided in that regard to reschedule all out of town touring performers to later dates (TBA) after the virus threat has passed.
I am going to meet with our board of directors very shortly. Our VP Mark has suggested we look at live streaming performances. I want to explore what technology is required to actually do that and try to determine if there would be an interest in providing this as a public service for those that are shut in. Bands could live stream in-front of a camera instead of an audience. Two of our local musicians, have contacted me today asking about such a possibility. One of the bands bands we had scheduled are considering this as a possibility and I'm sure there are more that would be interested if we can make it work. If we're going to all be shut in we might as well support each other and have some decent entertainment that allows us to all feel part of the community even though we're isolated in quarantine.
If you have purchased tickets for an event at The Venue being held by any of our community groups, that has been cancelled or rescheduled or if you are unable to attend for health reasons, you can contact and we will arrange for a full refund or get a coupon to redeem for a future event.
Please note, The Venue Society has cancelled or rescheduled all of it's events until further notice.
Thank you for getting your facts about The Venue here.
19 March - 11:00 p.m.
I will get the facts posted as I am able and allowed to, but right now it's too late at night and I'm one beer over too many. Egad, I haven't been drunk in over a year ....
Right now I just want to play some sad Willie Nelson songs on my guitar and believe things will work out. Yes ... I am human.
Keep checking back.
20 March - 11:25 p.m.
For what ever reason, it seems things can go downhill faster than you imagine. It's unfortunate but I guess that's just how life works. Where we stand at the present moment is this:
When we first rented the building that is known as The Venue in June 2018, we were assured by the RDCK building inspector that our intended use of the building would not constitute a "change in use" and thereby not trigger a need to upgrade the building to today's building codes. The building was built in 1945 or so.
On the 18 March the new RDCK building inspector served notice to our landlord that an application for renovation had to be submitted by the end of the month. Here is the notice the landlord was given:
I have been informed that there has been multiple functions happening at 3622 Church Rd. and more are planned for the future. I have also noticed some exterior renovations and can likely be safe to assume there has been some interior renovations as well. The alterations and improvements to the building along with the change in use require the engagement of an Architect.
We will require a letter of engagement from a coordinating professional along with an application for the change of use and improvements to the building. It is important to note that we will require a ‘Schedule A’ from the coordinating professional.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Time is of the essence with this, We are hoping to see an application and letter of engagement by the end of March to avoid a ‘Stop Work Order’ and ‘Do Not Occupy Notice’ placed on the building.
February of last year our landlord did hire an architect that did a building inspection and the list of things needing to be done. Being a registered non-profit society it was outside of our financial ability to make the upgrades. Our landlord did not want to make the upgrades so it was left up to us. We contacted a contractor, associated with The Venue and asked them about the list from the architect. They said many of the requirements were unnecessary and in light of our original information from the previous inspector, not required unless there was a change of use. To be on the safe side we began working on the requirements that we could afford. We installed fire extinguishers at the top of the stairs, a lighted exit sign and a crash bar for the front door. These were done at the societies expense.
This year was looking good and the possibility was real that we could earn enough money to complete many of the items on the list. We had 35 concerts booked with musicians such as Oliver Swaine, Ken Hamm and many others. Many other projects such as movie recordings, workshops, building rentals were also starting to happen bringing in more funds. Having put $12,200 into the building by the end of 2018 and thousands more in 2019 I wasn't financially able to put any more of my money into the project. The monthly cost of maintaining The Venue to date had consumed my monthly pension cheques since June 2018. The prospect of having The Venue start paying it's monthly bills was welcoming.
Then disaster struck, COVID-19 swept the world and caused us to cancel all events at The Venue. The length of time was undetermined but government news broadcasts suggested the shutdown of businesses may last all summer long. With the prospects of raising funding through performances at The Venue ended by the virus, it looked like our plans to do any renovations at The Venue were crushed as well. Then the notice from the RDCK was served giving us less than two weeks to complete their requirements.
I attended the RDCK office at the library but wasn't able to talk with the inspector because the landlord had to fill out a representative form. We did engage is a short conversation about change of use in which he said in his opinion the use of the building constituted a change of use therefore we had to make the changes. I assumed because of the COVID-19 threat he didn't want to talk in person because he said to submit everything by email.
I went back to The Venue and wrote an email to the RDCK asking for an extension for 6 months and sent it via email. I may post the letter here eventually. Read the letter.
The next day, Friday I met with the landlord and was informed the building was being put up for sale.
So there you have it. Does The Venue live or die? If I had the money I would buy the building and donate it to the society but I don't and unless I win a lottery, I never will. If our society owned the building it would eliminate a lot of restrictions placed on us by the landlord and allow more opportunity for us to have income producing shows. It would also allow us the ability to qualify for government grants that could be used to fix the buildings code deficiencies. Unfortunately, we do not own the building. If it actually does go up for sale we don't presently have the funding to purchase it or make a down payment. I have asked the landlord on three separate occasions how much to buy the building but never got an answer, so I don't even know what the price would be. I guess we will find out soon enough. Also, we haven't received an answer back from the RDCK as of yet. So as far as we know, we have to be out of the building by the end of this month. With this in mind I have rented a 10 X 30 storage locker to store as much of our equipment in as possible, I have also started looking for an apartment to rent because as you know, I lived in an attached suite at The Venue.
Is there a way we can make The Venue continue to happen? I will keep fighting, but at the moment I'm worn out and I'm lost at what to do. My priorities right now are surviving and getting a place to live and moving a huge amount of stuff into storage. We will operate somewhere, I don't know where ... I hope it's here, where we are at now.
Good night ....
21 March - 10:00 p.m.
What a difference a day can make. I have a place to move to if required. I have a storage shed to store equipment in. These are preparatory actions to make sure I have all the bases covered if everything goes south. I have looked at alternative buildings to use as a venue. I have spoke to a contractor, a banker and a lawyer. Let me stress, this is all preparatory to make sure all the bases are covered. I can't reveal too much here but let me say we're in good shape, much better than I thought we were in yesterday. Please remember, The Venue is a dream, a vision, a concept not a building. There is no doubt the building we've been using is perfect, but it's not the only one. That being said, just because I've got other options does not mean I'm giving up on this one. I know that might confuse some of you, but it's all I can say at this time.
But, here is something I can be very clear about. What really took me by surprise was the ground swell of support coming in via email, text messages and personal visits (at 6 ft mind you). In this time of world crisis people tell me they need The Venue. It is a spot of light in their lives and up lifts their spirits. They want to make sure it survives. They are willing to mobilize to make it happen. I haven't asked permission to post any of their letters here but we've had offers of help, money, expertise, media coverage, free lawyer services, free contractor services and a just about anything you can think of. That uplifts my spirits and those of our board members and active society members.
Anyway, Shauna, Farrah and I took the dogs for a four mile walk this evening and I'm dead tired. Not sleeping much the last few nights isn't helping much either so I'm off to bed. I'll update each evening so keep checking back. Please feel free to pass on the password to anyone you know that wants to know what's the scoop. The reason I'm using a password is that we don't need the whole world knowing the challenges we're facing so the password helps keep the readers local.
Also, I am getting so many emails it's difficult to sort through them all. Please be patient if I haven't answered you back yet.
Good Night ZZZZzzzzzz........
23 March - 8:25 a.m.
Was too tired to make an entry last night. The ground swell of support continues! We have been contacted by many people that want to help save The Venue. Understand it's going to take time. This virus is slowing everything down to a crawl, meetings are held online, the phone or via email. As great as those technologies are they aren't as good as face to face which we all need to avoid, especially those of us in the infection risk age zone. That being said, we haven't stopped working on this, but we've been dealt a hand we have to play with and it's slowing things down.
If you want to offer help, financial assistance and encouragement please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (250) 428 6444 and let us know. This is a community effort and that will be the only way it will happen. We're growing stronger everyday in numbers. When we're all through these dark days, there will be brighter days ahead. For now, please stay safe, eat well, practice paranoid sanitary protocols, we all need to get through this.
I just want you to know, we are wanting to do live streaming music events for the community but at the moment, besides the technology, our big concern is safety of the participants and we're working on ways to accomplish that. Until we can be certain of participant safety we won't go ahead. Maybe we'll just do solo performances .... not sure yet. We're juggling a dozen or so things here and assigning priority to each as information comes in each day. Keep safe and know that better days are coming! I am reminded of the song
We Are The World
24 March - 7:24 a.m.
I'm sitting here watching the NEWS waiting for 8:00 a.m. to hear the P.M.s "major" announcement in regards to COVID-19. It amazes me that everything becomes a political issue. It's all about posturing, it mirrors what I see happening south of our boarder. Why does the best idea always have to be your's? Why can't you just congratulate the other person/party for a great idea or concept? Do we always have to stand up and beat our chest say "Look at me, I'm so great." This really wears me out. Can't we finally come together as human beings, regardless of politics, race, beliefs and countries? Why does everything have to include a political power struggle. Isn't it possible for us to look at another human being and say I can help, what do you need? I'm not supporting either party view, I am not a political person, but COVID-19 doesn't care about your politics, it's going to devastate who ever it touches, if it chooses. It sounds like it's time for a change, in people? in attitude? in policy? in programs? And I don't mean top down, I'm thinking bottom up. How does that happen? I don't know, I'm just one person with a guitar and a wish for the world to be a better place and people to actually care about others without all the gaslighting. Seems the world is getting too complicated, it's no wonder people want to get off the grid and just disappear.
We have to keep safe people. Stay home, practice paranoid cleaning protocols, read, sing, enjoy the slower pace of life. Avoid others, Skype, Facetime, talk on the phone so you don't feel totally isolated, only go out if it is a necessity. Be safe. To my musician friends, I know you're dealing with your personal challenges but play, sing, create .... let's make some good come out of this crisis.
24 March - 10:00 p.m.
I have decided to self quarantine myself. I have the flu symptoms, NOT COVID-19, but having the flu puts me at risk so I'm locked away for 14 days. I don't want to pass the flu on to my loved ones, family or friends thereby putting them at risk. No need to worry about me, I have food and supplies enough but if someone could drop off The Advance newspaper this Thursday in the cardboard box on the front deck of the The Venue, I would appreciate it very much. I won't answer the door if you ring the doorbell. I'm not being rude, just safe for all of us.
Being locked away, I've decided to do a live music broadcast from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday nights. Just me, playing guitar on live stream. How about other musicians? Who will broadcast from 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from their home?
WASH YOUR HANDS
25 March - 9:22 a.m. DAY 01 - ISOLATION
Well here is my new reality for the next 14 days. I've locked the doors, put a do not enter sign on the window beside the door. I'll be working on things I've been putting off and resting if necessary, but please don't stop by to visit - I won't let you in - for your protection. It's probably just a mild case of the flu, I have no temp, my throat is just tickling a bit, no cough. To me this is how my onset of flu arrives, but apparently it's the same for the virus - so it's better to be safe and keep others safe than to be sorry.
I'm working on getting things set up for my live stream broadcast tonight from 7-7:30 p.m. Hopefully you'll tune in of The Venue facebook page.
26 March - 9:31 a.m. DAY 02 - ISOLATION
Thank you to those of you that spent time with me last night from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to listen to my musical offering. I have seen all sorts of musicians doing the same online. For those of you who mentioned I need to smile more, I'll try. OMG, the first frame of the video I do look angry don't I. Honestly I wasn't, I'll have to work on my happy face. Even in the light of all that has happened in the last two weeks, I am still very optimistic and happy.
One thing that makes me happy is that Facebook is awash with performances by musicians from all over the planet. I was especially pleased to see Bryan Ferguson put one up. I hope he does more. In the midst of this darkness that has fallen over our world, there are bright spots being made by good people. Thank you so much!
I know this isn't anyone's major focus at the moment because we're overwhelmed with fighting against COVID-19 but I will keep updating this blog in regards to the status of The Venue.
A big thanks goes out to Gary Deatherage and Lorne Eckersley. Gary notified Lorne about the possible closure of The Venue and Lorne wrote a news story on it for The Advance based on this blog column. It was a surprise to me and I'm thankful for the coverage to help in getting the word out there. I hope it will help generate a grass roots movement to save The Venue in whatever form it will exist. You can read Lorne's article online here. I have had offers already from groups in the community that have buildings to operate The Venue in and these are directly relate to the article.
But first things first, we have to get back to some level of normalcy with our lives, how long will that take? Who knows. In the mean time, stay safe, keep being creative, don't stop performing via online platforms and for your own good health and that of others - wash your hands.
I've been getting a lot of requests since the blog and newspaper article came out. People want to know what they can do to help. There are several things we can use help with, right now we need:
letters of support
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