Almost half a year ago, I received an email from a guy inquiring about booking acts at Naked.
That Sunday, while I sat with my trophy husband having a nice tea and doing our morning social media, I gave him a call.
That guy is Chris Tarvudd (of YEG Local Live Music) and he had several ideas about how he could help local artists (including new young groups looking for some experience) get onstage.
He was touching base with Naked with a proposal to use Naked’s fully-equipped (and underused) stage as a sort of launching point for this sytem.
As most “Naked Friends” (the official moniker) know, we’re a smaller venue – holding up to 60 and that makes us excellent for smaller, acoustic blues, jazz, rock and indie acts.
Chris was planning to help local artists get some exposure say, first at our venue – and eventually graduating to being headliners at the smaller venue, and moving to larger ones – eventually holding their own in the bigger events.
With local small music venues “dropping like flies” in most North American cities, it was a pretty bold idea.
I’m a fan of bold ideas, and we decided to do coffee that week.
When you first meet him, you notice a definite presence of “style”. I ran the largest two Club Monacos in Western Canada for some years, and you learn that people put together the image they’re comfortable with, and that they can be pretty varied – as long as they have their own vision – and he does (in his cool/pro image, and definitely in his music business).
The first impression was that he definitely had ideas, and was excited to express them.
After that coffee, we’d put together an initial schedule of several dates for events.
He has with him, several people who are are also heavily engaged in their own areas (photography, social media, music etc.) and as a team they put shows together pretty quickly and provide the promotion, hype, social media, video etc.
In fact, they way they do it must make new artists feel “big time” with their “artist of the month” promotions, jam space, recording studio etc.
We’ve had about a dozen shows so far, and each has been very professional – the group arrives early, sets up, does sound checks and they supply the door person, photographer, emcees, and on-site social media. The way he’s set up the ticket sales etc. the shows are quite busy – frequently packing the place.
When the show is done, people mill about and eventually clear out, the place is put back as it was, and aside from the bunch of people you’ve had in your venue, there’s no indication that anyone was even there. Truly “turnkey”.
Next show, “rinse and repeat”.
One of the things that is so vital about small local venues, is the ability to promote local music, give artists a place to “cut their teeth” and host some very interesting and eclectic acts. Big money-backed places are one thing, but the local small guy is important for everything from the spoken word, to pretty much “anything goes” music.
Chris and his group have come up with a rather creative way of making things happen in Edmonton’s ailing live music scene, and we’re very pleased to be able to partner with them as a YEG Local Live Music venue.