Why doesn’t Saskatoon have a dedicated all ages venue?

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Take Something and Run are helping to promote all ages shows in Saskatoon

We had a real good thing going on, back in the day: A dedicated, and subsidized, venue that curated all ages shows, a stage that ran that gamut from jazz to the dirtiest of grindcore.

Years later we are all still feeling that loss.

Saskatoon’s all ages indie scene has burned through a lot of venues in the past 25 years. There have been plenty of notable stages that have come and gone – and a few legendary ones as well. And while it’s nice to have a piece of rock history in our own backyard, it all leads back to the need for, or lack thereof, a dedicated and accessible venue.

There are plenty of success stories regarding these halls scattered across North America. But right now one of the most poignant causes is currently simmering in Vancouver, where the mayor has pledged support an all ages venue.

A city actually acknowledging a dearth of contributions to arts and culture? Who knew?

Regina similarly has the Cultural Exchange, a venue that has youth programming embedded into its mandate.

So why doesn’t Saskatoon have a venue where youth culture can grow and thrive, a place where musicians can practice their craft without having to worry about the bottom line of the bar?

There are several examples of promoters attempting to bring back and/or nurture an all ages scene. MoSoFest, MazzFest and the Ness Creek Festival, along with several others, stand as organizations that involve youth-led programming, but these are events that happen annually. Hall shows still happen, and you can still see a gig in a church. Or a good ol’ fashioned house party.

We need something more.

Take Something and Run is an organization dedicated to youth music and art. Organizing showcases for youth talent in the city, the group is currently holding a series of shows taking place at Beaumont Records. It’s cozy, and so far it works.

Ominocity caught up with Take Something and Run promoter Robbie Hynes for a quick lesson in why a good music scene should demand an all ages venue.

Ominocity: Why do an all ages series? Was it started out of a lack of a dedicated all ages venue?

Robbie Hynes: I went out to make something that I would have loved for there to have been when I was in school. I was in a lot of bands but we never had any places to play. Most of the music scene in Saskatoon takes place in bars, and so if you’re 16 and in a band you aren’t going to be playing any shows for years. I wanted to start something for people like that. People like me. There’s a lot of work that needs to go into fostering a scene like that, but I figured, “fuck it – I can try, right?”

It actually started coming together when Scott, from Beaumont Records, said something about wanting to do shows with younger performers on Facebook. We had a shared vision. It’s all a bit off the cuff, but I think that’s how a music scene should work. Right now I’m just focusing on putting on a show every month with younger performers. It’s worked so far, and it’s still going. The January show is this Friday, and the February one is going to be big.

OM: Is there a collective frustration in Saskatoon over a lack of an all ages venue? We used to have a really amazing AA scene here back in the day with The Bassment…

RH: I missed out on the old Bassment, and that’s definitely the kind of result I’m looking to bring to the city. But it’s complicated. I think the lack of all ages venue frustrates a large number of people, but I think it frustrates them as an idea. And I think the young people it does affect directly don’t think about it. For people my age, or people younger than me, an all ages music scene as large as The Bassment isn’t something we lost, it’s something we never had.

OM: Are there plans to take this further?

RH: I don’t mean to sound like I’m the only person putting effort into all ages shows. Shows at The Underground Cafe, shows at Beaumont, shows at The Bassment, O’Brians and Louis’ – you can find all ages shows all over in Saskatoon. There are pop up shows at this place or that place. But my goal is something centralized. A veritable youth music scene that is big enough that you don’t have to know the right person to get into it.

Also, I’ve got a Facebook page for the monthly shows, and for some pop-up shows every once in a while. The January show is at Beaumont, with Rohs, Knee Socks, Ellen Froese, and Thud and the Dream Board. It starts at 7:00, $5 cover.

For more info click HERE.

– Featured photo via Ryan Jackson/Punkoryan.com