Thursday, May 23, 2024

‘Embrace the chaos’: Victoria Events Centre launches new series highlighting local musicians


The Victoria Events Centre (VEC) has been a champion of local bands and musicians in the region since it opened its doors in 2003.

They operate as a non-profit organization with the mission of amplifying the city’s great and vast arts scene in a meaningful way that will uplift the artists who use their space.

The VEC’s latest endeavour is ‘Bands! Bands! Bands!’, a new music series that will take place once every month and will highlight four local bands or musicians of diverse genres.

The beneficial thing about this music series is that it is funded by the City of Victoria’s Music Strategy Fund. This means that bands don’t have to pay a room fee and are guaranteed a fixed payment. 

The venue also benefits by having funds to pay their sound technician and are renting a backline to make the shows more accessible for musicians. With the backline provided, they can just bring their instruments, plug in and play. 

“We get a lot of requests from emerging bands who might not be ready to take on the venue as a whole, but would do really well some of their peers to really fill up the room,” said Leyla Sutherland, Executive Director of the VEC.

“Part of this was trying to find a way to, as a mid-size venue, host a lot of emerging acts and recognize that those are developing audiences, but also make the space available.”

Bands! Bands! Bands! Will take place every third Tuesday of every month from now until September 2024, with the first show being next week on September 19th. 

The first couple shows will be curated by VEC staff to get the ball rolling, but in line with the first Bands! Bands! Bands! night, applications will be open to any emerging Victoria/Vancouver Island musicians who want to apply.

“The hope is that once we get the word out that this is happening, we will be opening up applications and we want to try to keep it as low barrier as possible so it’s really open to all genres and a lot of types of setups and putting the emphasis on seeing more representation of under-represented groups on stage,” Sutherland told Victoria Buzz. 

“Really putting musicians of colour, Indigenous musicians, women and non-binary musicians to the front of that process, but it’s also something where we really want to feel like we’re reflecting the community back.”

September 19th’s Bands! Bands! Bands! Will feature Talal McBriar, Daisy Stranglers, Baby Boy and the Earthly Delights and Sharon.

Sharon is a three piece indie-rock outfit with a jazz background. They weave their music in and out of strange time signatures with disdainful and cynical lyrical content. They’re a perfect Vancouver Island sad-boy band.

Daisy Stranglers are a three-piece ‘riot grrl’ fronted grunk (grunge and punk) band. Their old-school sounds are ones to smash the patriarchy too. 

Baby Boy and the Earthly Delights are roots-rock and reggae-inspired groups from Vancouver Island that feature wailing guitar solos and soulful storytelling. 

Talal McBriar has played the VEC before and she is a delight to have, according to Sutherland. She is a singer-songwriter whose emotive playing and singing will have any room shut up and pay attention to her truly special performance. 

If you’ve been itching to discover more up-and-coming musicians and trying to support local, the VEC’s Bands! Bands! Bands! Endeavour is made for you!

When asked what sets this project apart from other VEC shows, Sutherland told Victoria Buzz, “I think that there is a bi more of an emphasis on learning and discovery in this process.”

“It’s also a great opportunity for us to run an event over a full year, which is something that we, internally, don’t get to do much — we have lots of events and those are run by producers we work with closely, but ultimately that event is that producer’s that they run as they see fit.” 

She added that the series allows the VEC to give learning opportunities to new sound technicians and it will be a learning opportunity for all staff to figure out how to better support and promote emerging local acts.  

“We really want to embrace the chaos that comes with having a mixed bill, different kinds of music and a bunch of, you know, potentially four very different crowds gathering together in the space and really run with that and have to be what fuels a lot of learning and discovery,” Sutherland concluded.

Bands! Bands! Bands! At the VEC

  • Where: The Victoria Events Centre, 1415 Broad Street
  • When: Tuesday, September 19th, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Tickets: $7 advance or $10 at the door
Curtis Blandy

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