Last month, a fundraising concert staged to raise money to repair the Sternwheeler Village playground was shut down after neighbours complained about the noise.
“It was a real kick in the pants,” said Joel Gilchrist, who organized the concert.
Not only was the concert he organized shut down, but the plug was pulled right before he was supposed to take the stage with the band he fronts, Cervexecution.
He thought he had done his due diligence, checking with bylaw and sending flyers to the neighbours.
Bylaw services told him that he didn’t need a permit, but that turned out to be a miscommunication.
The third time bylaw came by, they brought with the RCMP along and threatened the organizers with arrest unless they shut the concert down.
Instead of raising money to repair the playground, the manager of the Sternwheeler Village, Barb LaChapelle, ended up taking a loss.
“It was pretty much a losing situation,” said Gilchrist.
But the whole thing may have been a blessing in disguise.
The controversy generated a lot of publicity, said Gilchrist.
The Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse stepped up to help organize a repeat concert.
“We read about the first attempt in the newspaper and we were kind of sad to see a group of kids who were honestly trying to get involved and do something good for their community and then, because of red tape, not being able to make it happen,” said Dave Blottner, the executive director of the club. “We decided to help them out and give them every opportunity.”
The Boys and Girls Club booked the venue and checked everything out with bylaw, while Gilchrist organized the bands and equipment.
This time the concert is taking place at the stage at Shipyards Park, and Blottner is confidant that they won’t have any trouble with bylaw services.
“We went up there and talked to them and they were incredibly helpful,” he said. “I don’t think there will be any issues this time.”
When Gilchrist got the idea of putting on the benefit concert, he had no idea that it would end up generating such controversy.
“All it was meant to be in the beginning was a spot for our band to play,” he said
They had lost their jam space and they were looking for a place to play.
Earlier this year he rescued a cat out of a tree at the Sternwheeler Village.
He saw the manager watching and approached her about getting some space to run their set.
“She ended up giving us six hours,” he said. “I asked if it would it be OK to invite more bands. She said, ‘yep,’ so we turned it into a fundraiser.” Though the first concert didn’t raise any money, it did help raise the profile of the Whitehorse rock scene.
“All these bands are getting noticed and it’s helping promote more shows,” said Gilchrist.
“I personally think there is a bigger rock scene than there is country, or bluegrass or whatever else in this town,” said Justin Tremblay, the bassist in Rad Badical, one of the bands that will be playing Saturday. “It’s just nobody puts it out there; nobody pushes to get it shown.”
That’s starting to change, said Tremblay’s bandmate Mack Smith.
“I think there’s a lot of good musicians out there,” said Smith, who plays guitar in Rad Badical. “I think the scene is starting to get bigger.”
The concert is happening on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Shipyards Park.
Admission is free and there is a reasonably priced barbecue.
There are seven bands set to play, Bushwhacker, Cervexecution, Rad Badical, Livin’ in Thought, Kyruel and Psychic Weatherman.
The concert has something for everyone, as long as they are a fan of rock music.
The bands run the rock genre gamut, from classic rock to death metal.
“We just want to get Sternwheeler some money and have fun while doing it,” said Gilchrist.
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