Some bands are all dressed up, with no place to play in Charlottetown

The PEI Brewing Company welcomed Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta! to its stage on Oct. 20 for a night of music. Darcy Cudmore photo

By Darcy Cudmore

Nov. 2, 2016

Brett Sanderson has been scrambling to find somewhere for his band to play.

Venues in Charlottetown are not booking and if the band can’t find more places to play, it may not be able to have any more shows.

Sanderson and his group of show organizers, Charlottetown Punk and Hardcore Shows, have compiled a list of over 100 bands having the same problem.

“We need venues for the indie rock bands made up of kids in high school, surf rock bands jamming in their garage and more. We, as a group, need more options.”

Sanderson has been a part of the all-ages scene for about 10 years as a spectator and musician. He and others want a place where they can enjoy a drug and alcohol free experience.

“We know there are places available, but some of those places have had issues with other groups in the past and we’re suffering from that.”

Some venues might also be intimidated by the style of music the group promotes, he said.

“That fact that we promote rock and punk shows gives some a false impression that we’re a reckless group, even though we are likely the easiest group any venue could ever deal with.”

The group now has just two venues that will book them regularly. Both are in churches and both have opened their doors to them anytime they need a space to play.

But those spaces normally have other things going on and are already booked. When this happens, the group is left with no option but to cancel.

The group hopes the city’s youth retention project will help push the idea of an all-ages venue into reality. That’s especially important since renting a space in Charlottetown seems to be much more expensive than in other cities, he said.

“We don’t do this for the money and we’re lucky to break even. We have friends in other provinces that can host a show for about $100. For us, it can be anywhere between $300-$400 and if we don’t have enough people show up, that money comes out of our pockets.”

Even if the group loses money, the most important thing is to keep putting on shows, or else the all-ages music scene could collapse completely, Sanderson said.

“It’s important to have a safe place for youth to play music and socialize and it’s nice to bring new artists to P.E.I. and show them that we have something to offer. The all-ages music scene has affected me a lot and I bet that goes for a lot of others as well.”