Longevity John Falkner says a government grant has allowed him to keep the Duncan Showroom afloat in 2020 during COVID. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

Longevity John Falkner says a government grant has allowed him to keep the Duncan Showroom afloat in 2020 during COVID. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

$10K grant keeps the doors open at the Duncan Showroom

The Showroom hit the ground running in March.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit live music venues throughout B.C. hard.

Yet many, like the Duncan Showroom in the Cowichan Valley, were quick to adapt.

As a small, 60-seat, theatre-style venue, the Showroom couldn’t compete with larger venues. Instead, for the last five years, owner John Falkner has offered a five-camera livestream of each performance.

“Because we were livestreaming before the pandemic, we were in a great position to switch to streaming as our main format of giving musicians a performance space,” Falkner explained.

The Showroom hit the ground running in March. It removed seats, extended the stage and put in place a safety plan. The Showroom kept the momentum going by moving the 39 Days of July Festival online, which helped keep the venue going through the summer. Still, without ticket sales, Falkner was facing disaster.

“I was going to have to close by the end of September,” Falkner said. “After 17 years, I couldn’t let that happen.”

Receiving a $10,000 Amplify BC grant kept his doors open.

“We’ve never applied for a grant in all the years we’ve been doing this,” Falkner said. “This grant allowed me to go to my landlord, to the electric company, let me stay in the game. More than that, it reinforced the value of what we’re doing here.”

When James Taylor re-posted a Showroom performance by 11 year old Malakai, it racked up more than 17,000 views in two days — proving the value of places like the Showroom. Live music venues give young musicians places to hone their skills and seasoned ones a place to shine.

The Showroom is one of 95 venues, festivals and presenters throughout B.C. that received support through Amplify BC. This year, Creative BC changed the guidelines to allow venues to use the funds for operations. It’s helping sustain live music venues through very difficult times.

“Thanks to Amplify BC, we’re staying the course, finding new ways,” Falkner said.

The province’s investment in Amplify BC is doing more than keeping the lights on. It’s sparking innovation and fuelling resilience in B.C.’s music industry.

Entertainment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Island Health is expected to begin public consultations soon on its controversial plans to open a new wellness and recovery centre at 5878 York Road. (File photo)
Public consultations on Duncan wellness and recovery centre coming in February

Controversial facility on York Road scheduled to open in June

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Providence Health Care has teamed up with partners, including Island Health, to launch the first remote cochlear implant (CI) mapping program for adults in British Columbia. Duncan’s Alan Holt was one of the first to test it out. (Submitted)
Remote cochlear clinic offers shorter commute for patients like Duncan’s Alan Holt

Duncan man one of the first to test virtual mapping program

Larry Fiege, right, from Fiege’s Farm shows a rapt audience the old-fashioned way to tap a Bigleaf Maple during the Maple Syrup Festival at the BC Forest Discovery Centre Feb. 1 and 2, 2020. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)
Maple Syrup Festival in Duncan cancelled

The annual syrup festival is a popular event at the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Most Read