From local favourites like Daniel Wesley and CBC Music Searchlight winner Desiree Dawson – to touring headliners like Oregon-based blues slide-guitarist David Jacobs-Strain and unconventional U.K. alt.-folk band The Moulettes, the upcoming TD Concerts at the Pier series will offer a little something for everyone.
The free open-air performances return to the waterfront Saturday nights throughout July and August, sponsored by the TD Bank Group, and co-presented by the City of White Rock and the White Rock Business Improvement Association.
In its second year, the series will continue to work on establishing the town’s reputation as a destination for live music fans.
Five of the six evening concerts will take place at 7 p.m. at the usual venue, the RE/MAX Sea Stage beside White Rock Museum and Archives on Marine Drive.
The one exception will be on July 16, when the venue changes to the Five Corners business district to complement the Tour de White Rock event. For that evening, featuring the pop-rock songwriting of Montreal’s Courtney Ewan and Vancouver’s Andy Bishop and their band Twin River and unique classical/electric indie/alt. folk fusion of The Moulettes, the performances will start at 8 p.m. (following the Criterium cycle races).
BIA executive director Douglas Smith said that it was determined early on that the 7 p.m. slot each week will be dedicated to highlighting emerging local performers such as singers Ava Carich and Richard Tichelman.
“We’ve tried to get some local people this year – that’s really important,” he said.
As with the touring acts booked for this series, he noted, scheduling is a big factor in making the final decisions on who will perform.
“A lot of this stuff comes down to the timing,” he said.
“For example, I’ve known about Dave Jacobs-Strain for a few years and wanted to get him over here. This year it worked out.”
Limitations of the venue also mean that it doesn’t suit big-arena acts, Smith added.
“We have a very small venue – we can’t get 10,000 people down there. We’re basically in a parking lot, so let’s make it as interesting and inviting as possible. For now, we’re creating a really intimate environment.”
But Smith – who has similar experience booking series in New Westminster and elsewhere in the Lower Mainland – said the positive response to last year’s series was encouraging enough to guarantee a return engagement.
“We had really good feedback last year. TD is back in, and the city and the BIA are totally excited about it.
“If we, as the BIA, were to try to do something like this on our own, we would never be able to do something of this magnitude. But with this backing we’ve been able to taken our seed money and leverage it into something much greater, and nobody is having to foot the entire bill.”
Smith added that being mindful of the ‘long game’ is really important in the series strategy.
“From Day 1, my plan has been to build this up until TD Concerts at the Pier is synonymous with White Rock around the Lower Mainland area and throughout the Pacific Northwest – that it gets branded so that people know that cool things are happening in White Rock.”
The series gets underway July 9 (7-10 p.m.) with a performance by South Surrey-based rock and folk-pop artist Daniel Wesley and his band (including Peninsula-raised drummer Tim Proznick), with opening acts Switch To Black (led by well-known local ace guitarists and impresario Jim Black) and Vancouver modern pop trio The Katherines.
“Daniel’s been really good to us, and last year he was injured and while he played the show for us, he couldn’t rock out the way he wanted,” Smith said.
“It was a no-brainer to have him back this year.”
For more information on the series visit www.concertsatthepier.com