From screen to stage, live music is making a slow and steady comeback in British Columbia

From screen to stage, live music is making a slow and steady comeback in British Columbia


Just a few days before her first live performance in more than a year, jazz musician Bonnie Northgraves (Bonnie Northgraves) watched the performance on a stage at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Workers set up fences, lighting and sound equipment. But one thing really caught her attention.

Northgraves said on Wednesday: “I just walked in here and saw the seat-my heartstrings were swollen.” “When I received the email about the upcoming festival, I was just overjoyed and overjoyed.”

Before the pandemic, this old-fashioned jazz-inspired artist performed up to five shows a week. But since the concert was closed for more than a year, she took time to write. Most music is inspired by the feeling of isolation and locked-in.

“I wrote a song called Whiskey can’t solve your problem, There is another piece, it was a gray day in Vancouver, I closed the blinds…so I’m playing a new piece called Let light in,” she says.

On Friday, Northgraves brought this music to the live stage, which was one of the first live concerts to be held in BC as the province reopened in stages. The Vancouver International Jazz Festival will host a mixed virtual and live concert with the smallest crowd next week.

As restrictions are relaxed in the coming weeks, more and more venues are preparing to allow more crowds to enter.

The Commodore Ballroom on the popular Granville Strip has begun booking concerts at the end of August, and Rogers Arena recently announced that it will start selling show tickets in October.

Spend time

Mo Tarmohamed, owner of the East Hastings Rickshaw Theatre, said he received a large number of booking requests after BC announced the restart plan.

Mo Tarmohamed is the owner of the Rickshaw Theatre in the East End of downtown Vancouver. He has booked the show to start in September. (Jon Hernandez/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

“Within a few minutes of the announcement, my email was haunted by local bands who wanted to perform here,” he told CBC News.

In the past few months, he has been recording virtual shows on his stage, and he expects that he will continue to do this in the summer instead of hosting a limited number of shows, which is not economically feasible for the venue .

Until September 7 (if all criteria are met), BC is expected to enter the fourth step of its restart plan. Under step 4, masks in public indoor environments will be a personal choice, the capacity of concerts will increase, and people in British Columbia can expect normal social contacts.

The current minimum requirement at this stage is that 70% of adults have at least one dose of the vaccine (as long as hospitalization and the number of cases remain low).

As of this week, this number is 77%.

The Vancouver-based jazz musician Bonnie Northgraves has been writing songs when performances dried up last year due to the pandemic. She is now performing at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. (Jon Hernandez/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

This trend prompted Tarmohamed to book a show for September 11th, after which he said that he had booked for the weekend until December. But he does want to know what effect this will have on unvaccinated attendees.

“One question is whether we will have vaccine passports… but I can’t answer this question because I don’t know the legality behind this,” he said. Tarmohamed said they are waiting and observing possible health advice.

The bigger show is coming

Other summer festivals, including the Vancouver Folk Festival, will continue to take place in a virtual manner throughout the summer, mainly because the degree of planning takes several months. Organizers are shooting digital concerts in venues across Vancouver.

“I know that venues, art organizations and musicians are struggling,” said Debbie Lynn Salmonson, artistic director of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Association. After the festival, Salmonson said that the organization will hold a small live performance at the Firehall Art Center.

Before the pandemic, Arkells performed live. (Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

But a larger show is underway. Most notably, Rogers Arena announced ticket sales for the first major show in more than a year. Country star Eric Church will perform in late October.

CBC News has contacted Rogers Arena to comment on how it plans to manage the crowd. Although BC’s restart plan states that the capacity of concerts will increase during Step 4, it does not state whether the arena is allowed to be full.

Health officials said they will conduct assessments throughout the summer.

At the same time, artists like Northgraves say that even a small crowd is a great inspiration.

“The self-evident connection with the audience, and the self-evident connection with your band-nothing can replace it.”

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