Columnist Cameron Bell reflects on the music scene in Terrace and what to expect in 2020. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

COLUMN | Reflecting on established and emerging venues in Terrace

Music Matters by columnist Cameron Bell

By Cameron Bell

With my neighbourhood pub closed for a Christmas party in mid-December, a friend and I caught the shuttle to the Northern for some casual games of pool and a couple pints.

Given that it was a Saturday night, we shouldn’t have been surprised to see a 5-piece band set up on stage and a growing crowd eager to hit the dance floor.

After a couple games of pool I couldn’t help drifting towards the front of the bar to appreciate a few jams from up close; these guys were rocking out and having a great time doing it.

Coming all the way from Vanderhoof, Mustang Heart is a country and classic rock band that fills their summer schedule with rodeos across northern BC.

Given that the band has returned to Terrace multiple times, the Northern Motor Inn is clearly doing something right when it comes to putting on live music.

Their 2019 shows featured some giants in the northwest’s music scene, including The Rats from Kitimat and The Racket from Hazelton. It’s a large venue and a fun gig for a live band, and likely to maintain its reputation for good times and big nights out for many years to come.

READ MORE: COLUMN | Reading list for growers and gardeners

The local music scene gained another option this year too; the new Skeena Bar opened at the end of 2018 and steadily gained popularity, providing another downtown venue for events. The addition of a stage and acoustic panels dramatically improved the suitability of the venue for live music, while art and prints from local photographers on the walls complement the ambiance.

Open Mic Nights hosted by Ben Hewitt (lead singer in the band Rutabaga Dirtbags) filled the bar to capacity in the fall, giving musicians of all ages and instruments an opportunity to show their friends what they’ve been working on.

The next Open Mic is scheduled for Thursday January 2nd; entry is by donation and minors are welcome until 10 p.m.

Speaking of new venues, did you make it to The Barn Party at Hidden Acres Farm and Treehouse Resort in September? Jon and Jaclyn Gagnon (from the band The Dearly Departed) have hosted the annual fundraiser at their property for 5 years now, complete with multiple local bands rocking out in the former hayloft.

Having spent the first half of 2019 renovating the building, this year’s party was like a grand opening of the new-and-improved venue.

Throughout the event, guests could be seen gazing up at the pine paneling across the vaulted ceiling, polishing the birch bar with the sleeves of their coats, and commenting on the overall beauty of the space.

READ MORE: New Skeena bar opens in Terrace

Stay tuned for more exciting improvements to Terrace’s premier destination venue, and more events to come in 2020.

While we’re lucky to have these old and new venues, there’s still something special about an intimate house concert.

If you’re interested in experiencing “One fluid set, trading songs and backing each other up with a 4 runner full of instruments and bleep blop machines”, check out Sam Tudor, Lyle Bats & Blocktreat, a trio of artists from the Williams Lake area playing a house show in Terrace on January 21.

Look up the Facebook event for info on tickets – if they aren’t already sold out!

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