Fringe Bar ramps up its mu­si­cal show­case

The pop-up drink­ing es­tab­lish­ment on Granville Is­land of­fers a gath­er­ing spot for artists and die-hard the­atre fans of all ages

The Georgia Straight - - Fringe Festival -


For the­atre lovers, the Van­cou­ver Fringe Fes­ti­val is a hotly an­tic­i­pated 11-day party. The Big Rock Brew­ery Fringe Bar popped up at Ocean Art Works on Granville Is­land two years ago, bring­ing free live mu­sic to the fes­tiv­i­ties. This year, the doors are open­ing to early birds and un­der­age non­drinkers, with af­ter­noon shows added on Satur­day and Sun­day, and wrist­bands for all-ages ad­mis­sions.

“The motto for many years has been ‘The­atre for every­one’, and it’s great that that is now ex­tend­ing to the mu­sic pro­gram­ming as well,” Corbin Mur­doch, the fes­ti­val’s en­ter­tain­ment co­or­di­na­tor, tells the Straight. “It’s great that we can just wel­come ab­so­lutely any­one, whether they’re 16 or 65.”

This year, the Van­cou­ver Fringe re­ceived $30,000 from Creative B.C.’S new B.C. Mu­sic Fund. The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced the fund in February 2016 to stim­u­late the mu­sic in­dus­try by dis­tribut­ing $15 mil­lion in grants.

The Fringe Bar is mak­ing use of these ex­tra dol­lars by ex­pand­ing the lineup of di­verse mu­si­cal acts. This year in­cludes per­for­mances from lo­cal funk favourites Queer as Funk, in­die songstress Savvie, blue­grass string play­ers Viper Cen­tral, Afrobeat funk group Ca­maro 67, six-piece Latin en­sem­ble Maza­cote, and singer-song­writer Rae Spoon—as well as lo­cal DJS play­ing every night.

“The Fringe Bar has al­ways been a place to kind of re­flect back the ec­cen­tric­ity and diver­sity of the Fringe Fes­ti­val, and kind of re­spond to that spirit with the mu­sic that we pro­gram,” Mur­doch says. “This year, be­cause of the fund­ing we re­ceived through the B.C. Mu­sic Fund, we were able to re­ally dou­ble down on that.”

The Fringe Bar is also pair­ing up with lo­cal mu­sic or­ga­ni­za­tions to get the com­mu­nity more in­volved in the ac­tion. The staff of Red Cat Records will be Djing on Wed­nes­day (September 13), and Light Or­gan Records is spon­sor­ing a night of per­for­mances.

The pro­gram­ming pri­or­i­tizes lo­cal tal­ent, but the Fringe Bar also has a unique ap­peal as an event that at­tracts artists from across Canada and around the world. Many vis­i­tors make the Van­cou­ver Fringe their last stop in a long sum­mer of Fringe Fes­ti­vals—lend­ing it an in­fec­tious, cel­e­bra­tory vibe.

“What’s so great about that bar is that it sort of pops up once a year and you get a mix of peo­ple down there that, re­ally, you won’t find any­where else,” says Mur­doch.

The space is a hub for artists and die-hard Fringe fans, but Granville Is­land wan­der­ers and cu­ri­ous mu­sic lovers of all stripes are wel­come to come out and par­tic­i­pate in the good times.

“It’s kind of un­usual in Van­cou­ver to have an out­door mu­sic venue that’s run­ning 11 con­sec­u­tive nights of free live mu­sic,” says Mur­doch. “I think it’s just a re­mark­able thing on the arts calendar in our city that we think every­one should come down and take a part in.

“Be­ing able to take a model that’s been work­ing and re­ally sort of amp it up, and make some of the changes we’ve been dream­ing about—we’re re­ally ex­cited to open the doors and see what hap­pens.”

The Fringe Bar will not only fea­ture acts like Viper Cen­tral and Rae Spoon, but also lo­cal DJS each night. Clay­ton Wong photo.

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