With high-profile local recording artists and emerging stars of the B.C. indie music scene waiting in the wings, a new look for White Rock public music events promises to be a game-changer.
In a launch of the TD Concerts at the Pier summer series Tuesday at The Boathouse restaurant – and an introduction of this year’s Canada Day celebration headliner Daniel Wesley – White Rock Business Improvement Association executive director Douglas Smith served notice that “the days of doing small events are over.”
With the support and co-operation of the City of White Rock – and the funding help of major concert series sponsor TD Canada Trust, and additional sponsorship by RE/MAX – White Rock is focused on providing “regional events of really high quality” on a continuing annual basis, he said.
Headlining the Saturday evening (7-10 p.m.) concert series – planned in co-ordination with 102.7 Peak FM – will be Peak Project winner Good For Grapes (July 4); Fast Romantics (July 11); The Boom Booms (July 18); well-known local Gary Comeau and the Voodoo All Stars (July 25) and The Matinee (Aug. 8).
Supporting acts will include Tea Petrovic, David Sinclair and Keith Bennett, Rich Hope, Ben Rogers, Tonye Aganaba, Bend Sinister, Colleen Rennison, Sarah Wheeler, Blue Moon Marquee and Lester Quitzau.
“The cool thing about this is it’s free,” he told a crowd of community movers and shakers, including Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Couns. Lynne Sinclair and Dave Chesney.
Introducing Wesley, who played a brief set of songs, Smith and Baldwin emphasized the recording artist’s local connection – he was born in Peace Arch Hospital and lived in White Rock for his earliest years – adding that he and his wife, who are expecting a son, are moving back to the Peninsula shortly before his special Canada Day appearance (July 1, 9 p.m.).
Smith, whose previous event planning and promotion credits include New Westminster’s Concerts at the Quay series, told Peace Arch News that music events such as the concerts series take so much work to stage that it is important to maximize their appeal – and make sure adequate funding is in place.
“The problem with a lot of local events is that they’re underfunded,” Smith said. “It means they are unable to grow or deliver the kind of quality that is going to grow and resonate with a regional audience. Now we’re in a position to do it properly… so that it becomes a sustainable event that everybody knows about and knows that it will be here each year.”
TD Canada Trust White Rock manager Bob Bezubiak said sponsoring the series was a natural connection for the bank.
“TD’s very much into music – since 2003 we’ve sponsored music events all over Canada,” he told PAN.
“I like the fact that this series focuses on emerging artists in B.C. – we love presenting local talent and giving them an opportunity to show their stuff.”
Smith agreed working with Peak Project artists is an opportunity to raise White Rock’s profile, positioning it as an attractive venue for up-and-coming artists.
“I think we’ll have performers and managers asking to be part of this in future,” he said.
Audience appeal is also crucial, he said.
“We’re definitely looking at getting a younger demographic – people that have disposable income who are going to come down here to shop and hang out for the evening. It will create a nice vibe that is part of what is already happening in White Rock and South Surrey – we just have to tap into it.”
But Smith feels there will be plenty of appeal for all generations in the planned lineup.
“Great music runs through all age groups, and with artists like the Boom Booms and Matinee, it’s great melodic music played by great musicians,” he said. “It wouldn’t matter if you were a teen or in your 90s.”
First of the TD Concerts at the Pier series will be July 4, featuring Rich Hope (7 p.m.), David Sinclair and Keith Bennett (8 p.m.) and Good For Grapes (9 p.m.)
For further information on the schedule, visit whiterockbia.com