Eking out a space for live music in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Eking out a space for live music in Kamloops

The band Bridal Party from Victoria is seen performing at Red Collar Brewing in Kamloops on June 16, 2019.
Image Credit: Frank Luca

KAMLOOPS — When Kamloops music promotor JP Lancaster started Factotum Cassette Commodities to help promote live music in the city three years ago, it wasn’t the easiest to get venues to work with him.

“It was a struggle at first obviously,”  Lancaster says. “With any endeavour you have to earn peoples’ trust and prove that it will work.”

Lancaster, who is a musician himself, says when he moved back to Kamloops after spending time in Victoria and Vancouver, he found there was a gap in the city to help local and touring bands find venues to perform at.

As a promoter, he works to ensure bands have a spot to play at and that people are aware shows are happening.

“I didn’t perceive there to be a lot of opportunities for bands who play in the indie umbrella which can encompass a lot of genres,” he says. “I took it upon myself to create those opportunities so that we could first grow a scene locally for the bands and then start to attract bands who are passing through on tour.”

Fast forward to 2019, and Lancaster says he gets requests daily from bands looking for gigs. He also schedules the music for large events like Brewloops 

“Kamloops over the past three years has gone from being a city that touring bands wouldn’t even consider stopping in (and) now it really is a big destination,” he says.

The only problem now, is that Lancaster struggles to find the right sized venues with good sound.

“We can’t support (live) music every night, so on the one hand I have to say no to a lot of the bands,” he says.

Lancaster explains how venues such as the Blue Grotto located downtown are great spots for bands but when they are booked, Lancaster has to get creative.

Sometimes this will look like renting sound equipment to set up at record shops, coffee shops, downtown bars, the Legion and even pizza shops.

“That is the challenge that I often face, is finding a suitable location,” he says. “(These places) don’t want to be a live venue every night so you have to find time that works for them.”

But if schedules don’t line up, Lancaster says he is put in a tough spot.

“For some instances that’s why I end up saying no to bands (because) there isn’t a space available for that particular night or there is too much financial risk when you get into a situation of having to rent equipment,” he says.

But that still isn’t deterring Lancaster from keeping live music part of the Kamloops entertainment scene. Ideally, Lancaster says a space made for about 200 people in the downtown core would be a huge benefit.

“As you see more people getting priced out of Vancouver, people are going to start settling down here but still want those city options,” he says. “There is an appetite for (live music) we just don’t have the physical space for it yet, but I think that’s the next thing that needs to happen.”

He compares it to the growing coffee and craft beer scene which has been expanding recently in the Tournament Capital.

“I think the growing appetite for all these things speaks to all the positive changes that are happening in the city,” he says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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