It's been a few days now since the Calgary Herald's article (click here to view) which has now surpassed 100,000 supporters.
It's really inspiring to see how many people have banded together. As soon as we at PK read about it we were on a mission to share, promote, post and stir up as much of a hornets nest as we could (thank you FB advertising you were really good for something this time). This specific topic really hit home as we are so deeply involved in the music culture in Calgary & North America.
I feel like I have a unique position to write on this topic since for the past 15 years I have been engaged in nearly all aspects of the emerging EDM culture. From party goer, to promoter, to artist (Subvert), to talent buyer (Shambhala) to President at PK Sound, it's been a long road that has given me perspective on many aspects of a growing culture from infancy to a national explosion. I've had the pleasure of watching my bedroom DJ friends explode into International Superstars. But not by luck, not by chance, not by being signed by Sony records or a TV show, through tireless hard work over many, many years, sleeping on couches and car-pooling from city to city. Do you know where they all got their start? At little parties in small nightclubs & restaurants. Long before 100,000 person festivals they were playing at 200 person nightclubs for $500 a show or less, weekend after weekend, slowly building a fan base and building a culture. I remember when Bassnectar stayed in our basement for 3 days and when Rusko stayed in our spare room for a week both to save money on hotels in-between gigs.
If you consider a 200 person club with a $15 cover that equates to a $3000 budget to promote an entire show. Advertising, talent fees, plane tickets, extra lighting & sound, opening acts, door staff and the list of expenses goes on. You can see right away there is no room in these budgets for a $425 fee, especially for a 5 piece band in which case that fee is now $2125.
So you see the real threat here is not to small nightclubs & bars, though they will surely be immeasurably damaged, it's to our arts & culture and the emergence of new bands, new DJ's, new artists and new music. It's already nearly impossible for promoters or artists to make money at these size of events, it really is about the love of music and it's that love and passion that the government will strangle with these new fees. We threw shows at a loss or just to break even for many, many years. It was a long uphill battle that I am happy to say ended up in success stories for many of my close friends. However we never would have gotten there without the support of small venues and upcoming artists!
So if you haven't already, PLEASE sign the petition, contact your MP and pass this information along to anyone you know that loves music. It doesn't just affect small venues & artists, it affects us all and it affects the emergence of new music we all love!
- Jeremy Bridge, President, PK Sound