Deck Fest kicks off tonight

Track: “This is Backup” by The Disengagement, one of the bands performing at this year’s festival.
“This is Backup” by The Disengagement

Tonight (Thursday, June 21st) marks the beginning of a four night celebration in honour of Holdsworth Court, otherwise affectionately known as “The Deck” and the wonderful bars lie at its edges. Establishments such as The Levee, Distortion, The Bull & Barrel and CBTG’s are hotbeds for the thriving local music scene, and this festival will feature a host of well known local bands as well as some special guests — such as the providers of today’s track, Newfoundland/Nova Scotia band The Disengagements. I recently asked festival organizer, Gene Browne a few questions about the festival.

What inspired you to organize Deck Fest?
Well, there are a few reasons why this whole thing came about. Being a resident of the Deck, I’ve had numerous conversations with fellow musicians, bar owners, staff, customers and others about how much of a community The Deck actually is and what it actually means to the original music scene here in St. John’s. People of all kinds flock there for a place to go that will welcome their personality, their friends and their tastes in music. The majority of us will go out of our way to help someone in need, whether they’re playing your venue or not… it’s all about helping one another out so that we all succeed and give the original music scene here a place where they love and want to play. So after much thought and talk I wanted to talk to all the bars on the Deck and book the best 16 shows with 50 or so of the best acts here in town to celebrate what the place means to us. We wanted it to be a big celebration of community and culture. It almost worked out perfectly for us.

The other big reason to do it is that I’ve wanted to organize an outdoor festival ever since I started in the bar scene here in St. John’s 5 or 6 years ago and I gave it a shot with a buddy of mine two years ago. After talking to the city, it turned out it would have been just too big a project to take on for an initial production. So after thinking about it for the past two years, and having a good chat with one of the organizers of the Folk Festival, I decided to start small. Maybe a few good years of something smaller and I’ll get the opportunity to take it to a bigger stage in the future.

The Deck is pretty important to the St. John’s music scene, Pathological Lovers even immortalized it in their song “Deck In Between”. Why do you think people love it so much?
I would have to say it’s important to the scene because we’re all very supportive of alternative music. There are a lot of people who aren’t open to just anything, let alone local original music, and we really take pride in the fact that we are. I support all genres of music, and have no segregation in my venue. I love metal music, rock, hip-hop, folk, country, almost everything, and I invite all those bands to play… and I’m not alone. I would imagine that’s why it’s important. That why it’s important to me… community.

Were there any special criteria considered when choosing bands for the line-up?
The only criteria we chose for bands was that they had to be a somewhat regular performer at Deck bars. We wanted everyone who make the Deck what it is… and what would it be without the bands that perform each week? So we stayed close to home, but asked a few who frequent it every now and then.

Any plans of making Deck Fest an annual event?
I’d like to do it annually, but since CBTG’s didn’t want to take part this will probably be a one off. We wanted to have everyone working together for one big weekend… a big summer kickoff… but we will have to see next year. Maybe I’ll get my outdoor festival.

Deck Fest begins tonight (Thursday June 21st) and ends Sunday (June, 24th). For bands, venues, times, tickets and all other associated information see the Facebook link below.

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Episode #1

A high school math teacher by trade, Lee Pearce, also known as Hotbox says making hip-hop beats has been an obsession for almost ten years now. And back in the day he used to have a show on the MUN campus station CHMR, which he says was possibly the first show to play hip hop […]

2 March 2007

  1. Jon · March 2, 2007

    Why won’t CBTGs take part?

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