Saturday, May 18, 2024

Bands!Bands!Bands!: Victoria music venue secures new funding to pay bands a fair price


Ever since 2003, the Victoria Event Centre (VEC) has been a pillar of the local music scene in Victoria and those who run the non-profit venue make sure to be constantly innovating the ways in which they support artists getting their start. 

In September of last year, the VEC launched a new project, ‘Bands!Bands!Bands!,’ that would help foster new relationships within the local music scene and because of its successes, it has been expanded. 

This event is a music series that takes place once per month on a Tuesday night.

It is meant to feature bands of different sounds and backgrounds in order to allow the artists to have an accessible launchpad for their music, as well as to ensure bands were being paid a fair price so they can better invest in themselves. 

“We felt like there was a gap in the community for new and emerging bands to really get a chance to grow their audience and perform in larger venues,” said Leyla Sutherland, Executive Director of the VEC.

“It’s really nice to see different artists meet and collaborate.”

This endeavour was originally launched because the City of Victoria provided them with project funding through the Victoria Music Strategy, and now it has received additional funding from Creative BC. 

Now they have additional funding and are expanding the music series through December, when originally, their City funds would have run out after April, according to Sutherland.

Sutherland told Victoria Buzz that because of this new funding, they are doing a second call-to-action for local bands and musical artists to apply and play a Bands!Bands!Bands! show. 

“The Creative BC money has really allowed us to expand the artists’ fee so now we are offering what essentially works out to $150 per band member,” she explained. 

That amount is paid to each band member up to around five or six members, according to Sutherland. She joked with Victoria Buzz that number is the most people the stage can fit anyhow. 


In order to make the shows as accessible as possible, every Bands!Bands!Bands! show is all-ages and the VEC provide the backline to artists so all they need to bring are their instruments and drum sticks, plug in and play. 

Sutherland says the VEC also tries to choose bands or artists through a lens of equity, ensuring that members of the BIPOC and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities don’t get pushed to the back of the line. 

There is an online application online for those who want to play a Bands!Bands!Bands! showcase. 

“We need some pieces of information like people’s stage plot, images, some links to some recording of their music—it doesn’t have to be professional, we just want to make sure the band is real,” Sutherland laughed. 

In the form, applicants have the option of self-identifying themselves as a member of one of these groups. 

“The project is really trying to focus on presenting and supporting more artists of colour, more BIPOC, queer and trans performers as well as people with disabilities and just a broader range of perspectives,” she added. 

Sutherland says this process is to ensure that the VEC is maintaining a really balanced and diverse music series which reflects what the community looks like.

She also says the benefits of this project allow for not only community building and paying artists well for their work—for which the night was intended—but it has also had other benefits that were not necessarily intentional, however are beneficial to the music scene.

“We’ve recommended some of our Bands!Bands!Bands! bands to play as openers when we have touring acts come through,” she explained.

“We benefit tremendously from knowing who’s out there, who’s trying new stuff, who’s making cool music.”

Over the past eight months, a total of 32 bands have played Bands!Bands!Bands! and another 28 will have the opportunity before the project’s funding ends and the last showcase takes place in December. 

Next week on Tuesday, April 16th, the featured bands for volume eight of the series will be:

  • Silverton are a hard blues-grunge power trio from Colwood who describe themselves as “a trip, a journey to the past, with raging overdriven guitars, punchy bass that will shock you to the floor, booming drums that rattle your soul like cannons and haunting vocals that will swirl your mind.” 
  • Anne Martina is a singer-songwriter who says she makes heartfelt music with meaningful lyrics and catchy melodies. She writes songs with themes of love, loss and coming-of-age. Martina recently released her debut EP, If I Could Talk About It
  • Black Treacle is a self-described alternative rock duo who hail from Esquimalt. They say they are inspired by the experimentation of Brian Eno and the emotional vulnerability of The Cure and Elliott Smith. 
  • Sweet Delirium is a four-piece project who play “an eclectic blend of shoegaze, dream pop, post-punk and R&B who try to incorporate atmospheric soundscapes into their live show. 

Check out the next showcase and if you play in a band or perform as a singer-songwriter, apply to play one of the next Band!Bands!Bands! showcases. 

Bands!Bands!Bands! Vol. VIII at the VEC

  • Where: The Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad Street
  • When: Tuesday, April 16th from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Tickets: Available online for $9.22 
Curtis Blandy

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