Richmond steps up and rocks out: Community centres expand the music scene with local band nights

January 13, 2010 by  

Venice Queen lead singer Ryan Bloomfield rocks out at one of their shows downtown.

Venice Queen lead singer Ryan Bloomfield rocks out at one of their shows downtown.

Everybody loves to see their favourite stars perform, but nobody likes the empty wallet when the show is over.

For example, tickets to the Oct. 23 Rascal Flatts concert cost at least $85 for a decent seat, which for some is too much for four hours of music.

A way to remedy that is to see the talent showcased a couple nights a month at Richmond community centres, for $5 or less.

Youth programs at both Steveston Community Centre (SCC) and South Arm Community Centre (SACC) run the band nights on Fridays during the Night Shift program, a weekly youth hangout night and now Cambie Community Centre is getting in on the act.

The Cambie centre, at the corner of Cambie and Jacombs roads in Richmond, is hosting Richmond based band Venice Queen’s first all-ages show on Oct. 23. Opening for them will be local youth bands Ill and Fallen, and The Chase. All three up-and-coming bands play serious rock music, and the Cambie Night Shift coordinator is excited that they’re playing at the community centre’s first ever band night.

“We’re just beginning to explore the musical side of things at Cambie,” said Brandon Bloomfield. “If this night goes well, we plan on having more.”

Venice Queen is one of the winners of the 2009 Vancouver Seeds competition, held by The Fox radio station for indie bands. The band has also played a number of shows downtown, but wanted to become better known in its hometown, so agreed to headline Cambie’s band night, which has a $5 cover charge.

Venice Queen has also played at South Arm Community Centre, which, along with Steveston Community Centre, has regular shows featuring high-school-aged and young adult bands.

Alvin Li, a Steveston Community Centre youth development worker, said that the band nights are more about the kids and their music than making money..

“It’s the chance to give youth in the area an opportunity to play and show their talents,” said Li. “We rarely ask for more than $2, sometimes it’s free [to get in] or… we ask for clothes during the winter to give to charity.”

SCC presents five or six acts a night, consisting of acoustic music with some rock and alternative thrown in. Li said they also want to expand into hip hop.

Most of the youth-oriented events at Steveston, including band nights, are “run by youth for youth,” said Li. He also said it’s a chance for SWAT, Steveston with Active Teens program, to learn how to organize events and members to develop leadership qualities.

Band nights at South Arm Community Centre are also run mainly by its youth group, Mosaic, and organized with the help of Andy Roy, a youth worker.

SACC has a band night once a month, featuring three or four local bands who play some metal, screamo, rock and alternative music, with a $5 cover charge. The next show at SACC is Nov. 13; the bands haven’t been announced yet.


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