Winnipeg music venues hopeful for rebound after pandemic closures
The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to almost all live events, leaving Winnipeg’s music venues empty, but now they are finally starting to rebound.
Despite the pandemic, it has been a busy summer for John Scoles, the owner of Times Changed on Main Street.
While his main venue has been shut down due to the pandemic, he's been finding ways to support the music community through other projects.
He launched Blue Note Park earlier this year, an outdoor concert venue next door to Times Changed.
"We have actually managed to put $200,000 into the hands of musicians in this town through different projects like Blue Note Park, the beer can last year, an album we released and a video we did," said Scoles.
But with Winnipeg winters, Scoles is forced to close Blue Note Park, its last show coming Saturday.
Though, with an improved outlook on COVID-19 and an ease in restrictions, he plans to reopen his indoor venue on Oct. 22.
"It's what we've always done and what we love and everyone says 'oh my god, we have to be back in the club' and then when we open the door let's see how the feel," said Scoles.
It's a similar story at The Good Will Social Club. The venue is also making a return on Oct. 22 after being closed for almost 19 months.
"It's not easy but we've had a lot of support from the community and that's what helped keep The Good Will going. We are really grateful for that," said Jeremy Haywood-Smith, who does the booking for The Good Will.
One of the biggest challenges the venue faces now is ensuring everyone stays safe.
"It's going to be a fully immunized building, so everyone coming in performing and booking needs to be vaccinated just to be extra safe," said Haywood-Smith.
At The Park Theatre, owner Erick Casselman made the best of the pandemic closure.
“I took the opportunity to start gutting the place in January. Redo it so coming out of the pandemic bigger, stronger, have a larger capacity to be able to host bigger shows," Casselman said.
With the final touches being put in place, the theatre is slated to reopen on Oct. 8.
No matter the venue or staff member, they all share the same feelings toward holding events again.
"Oh super excited. I can't wait. I've been sitting on pins and needles for 18 months looking forward to having live music back in the room again," added Casselman.