The Fraser Valley and Its’ Inexcusable Inability to Rock.
***********THIS POST IS IMPORTANT. I REALLY WOULD APPRECIATE FEEDBACK FROM BANDS & FANS***********
Ok, so what’s so important?
It’s the simple fact that I live in the Fraser Valley. And it sucks to live here if you love live music. For those who are unsure what municipalities consist of the “Fraser Valley” of British Columbia, here’s the general list: Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission. Forgive me if I’ve left out any major municipalities, but those are the 3 most heavily populated areas in the Fraser Valley, outside of the Metro Vancouver area.
The reason that I live in the Fraser Valley is of any importance to anyone or anything is because I’m a pretty big music fan. Shocker, right? The reason this creates a problem is due to the fact that I have to commute an hour, to an hour-and-a-half for a decent show/concert held in the downtown Vancouver core.
By now you’re likely thinking I should quit whining and complaining, suck it up and commute. Well, I do. A lot. But I want to finish my thought/bitch/rant/question.
Why is it that:
A) there are minimal venues in the Fraser Valley, particularly in the heaviest populated area, Abbotsford, for a good gig? (and I’m not talking AESC, think smaller)
B) very few out-of-province bands—popular or not—ever venture through Abbotsford to play a gig on their way to Vancouver and very few Vancouver-based bands ever venture out the 1 hour to do the same?
C) more music-loving Fraser Valley residents aren’t speaking out about this ridiculously lame issue? And if they are, why haven’t I heard about it?
If you think I’m just joking around, I’m not. I am sincerely looking for honest feedback from both music fans and bands.
As a band, do you know of any venues in Abbotsford that would be worth booking? Do you feel that the “Bible Belt” of the lower mainland would be either too cheap or too uninterested in listening to you play a “venue” for $10-$20?
As a concert-goer and music fan who resides anywhere between Chilliwack and Langley, would you go to a show at a venue in the Fraser Valley for $10-$20? [If you're thinking, "What venue?!", you're absolutely right; there are few, if any]
For a region that has a population of over 120,000 alone in Abbotsford (2006 census) and over 200,000 in total (according to Wikipedia), why isn’t there a good venue to see a show? Sure, we have the Abbey Arts Centre and the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and a few lousy bars, but there is basically nothing for a band of decent popularity to play. The AESC is too big, the Abbey Arts Centre is either too small or just too lame, and coffee shops only cater to the acoustic acts. So you’re stuck with the Abbotsford Airfare Lounge and maybe the University of the Fraser Valley campus bar.
I know that the Fraser Valley isn’t going to be a “cash cow” for most bands to play in, so I can see why there’s no financial incentive, but from a few Vancouver bands I’ve talked to, they’d be willing to come out and play a show in the valley if the venue was right. Plus, if you are in the process of spreading the good word of your band’s name, why not hire a good promo team—ahem—play a few shows outside of Metro Vancouver, and at the very least, sell some merch? There’s nothing to lose but gas money.
As far as the residents of the Fraser Valley are concerned, I know MANY people who are venturing out to the big city to go to shows regularly, myself obviously being one of them. So it only makes sense that we’d even pay a little more money to see these same shows closer to home. Considering this is the case, it’s not so much the demographic of the Fraser Valley that anyone should really be concerned with, but more-so the lack of venue.
I suppose I can’t put the cart before the horse, but who wants to open a venue when there’s no supply (ie. bands/artists interested in coming to play) and no demand (ie. interested residents willing to come and watch). But we can’t say that there’s a lack of supply and demand if we have no venue to test this hypothesis?
Feeling confused and frustrated? Me too.
So there you have it. That’s all I’m asking. Bands and artists: if there were a few venues in the Fraser Valley—ideally, centrally in Abbotsford—would you come out and play once in a while? If the venue was there, would you still have reservations in booking a gig (ie. lack of interest and/or promotion)?
Music folk: what’s wrong with our town(s)? Is it us? Is it the largely elusive Abbotsford liquor license? Is it that all of us who care are too broke to do anything about it (ie. build a venue; lease a location; invest in an existing location)? Will it ever be plausible?
All feedback is welcome! I don’t claim to know everything about venues in the Fraser Valley, but I very rarely hear about decent acts coming out here from the Big Apple of BC… Please let me know if I’m being completely ignorant and have been missing out on great shows at some secret location, too. I’ll eat my words. Seriously. And I’ll wonder why everyone’s been holding out on me…
Thanks in advance!
~ by morethanafeelingmusic on September 14, 2011.
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tags: 100.5 the peak, abbotsford concerts, abbotsford entertainment and sports centre, abbotsford is lame, aftermath social house, airfare lounge, fraser valley gigs, indie music blog, indie rock in abbotsford, music venues, Peak Performance Project, shore 104.3, the red room vancouver, vancouver music scene