author: scott pettigrew | contributor
The attitude when talking to musicians from outside Regina about our city is unanimous: “Regina crowds suck.”
About a month ago, I finally started a proper career as a musician, and I quickly realized how amazing and supportive the music community is in Regina; I underestimated the number of opportunities I would get in the infancy of my career. I also realized how incredible the talent was in Regina: the number of artists that I was previously unaware of that I now know and love is staggering. Bands like The Windows Up Above, Andino Suns, Herb and The Humans, Brodie Moniker, (to name just a few) were killing it night after night right here in Regina and doing amazing things.
The same can be said for my infinitely talented singer/songwriter friends and colleagues, of which there are so many. Rookies and veterans alike, Regina artists have been making some absolutely incredible stuff as of late. Our scene is on fire right now in a lot of ways, and things are going really well for the community. There is only one elephant in the room that we need to address; Reginans need to get out to more shows, for a multiplicity of reasons.
The attitude when talking to musicians from outside Regina about our city is unanimous: “Regina crowds suck.” Many bands that turn people away in Montreal and Toronto find themselves playing to nearly empty rooms in Regina. I can’t count the number of times I went to go see a super cool band from out of town at the Exchange, only to find myself with far too much elbow space. What is the end effect? After awhile, lots of those super cool bands just stop coming. It seems every time I look at a Canadian tour lineup, it only has one stop in Saskatchewan (Hint: It’s Saskatoon). It’s not because of our shitty weather, relatively low population, or our proximity to the center of the universe, as Saskatoon has all those same issues. The sole existing reason for bands skipping Regina is the fact that our crowds notoriously suck.
It’s not that we are short on music fans; Regina boasts a relatively small group of very devoted music lovers who are ever so enthusiastic to support art, both local and otherwise. What we really lack are average, everyday people who simply go check out a show on a Friday night. So go, get out there, and enjoy our awesome scene. Check out places like the Artful Dodger, the Capitol, Shannon’s, the Exchange, O’Hanlons, Durty Nelly’s, the Artesian, and the Fat Badger. Listen to artists like Danny Olliver, Keiffer McLean, Blake Berglund, Val Halla, Belle Plaine, and so many more.
There is so much going on here, and it’s time that people wake up to how killer Regina’s scene is. Instead of going to another greasy house party or lounging at home and binge-watching Netflix, step outside your comfort zone and experience something new. I thoroughly believe that Regina’s music scene has the potential to become something far bigger than what it is now; but without the support of our own community, all of that talent is going to get up and move someplace else.
I think Regina can definitely turn things around for the better, and it even has the possibility of becoming a real hub for talent. But we as artists can’t make that happen; we can promote and push and create until we’re blue in the face, but the responsibility lies solely in the hands of the listener, the CD and ticket buyer, and the Facebook sharer. So go out and buy some CDs, see some shows, and live a little.