Music is the food of convention centre
If there’s one thing the Rusty Gull Neighborhood Pub is known for, it’s live music.
It was one of the best parts of working at the North Vancouver pub, said Colin Spiekerman, and it’s one of the reasons he’s employed at the Kamloops Convention Centre.
Music. Lots and lots of live music.
Spiekerman, the food and beverage manager at the Rogers Way venue, said the goal to brand the site as a live-music and dinner-theatre site began a few years ago, when the facility’s owner, Al Forster, sold it to his brother Art.
Art wanted the city to have a decent dinner-theatre location, Spiekerman said, and made it his goal to transform the hotel and convention centre with that brand.
“We can do great stuff here that nobody else can do,” Spiekerman said.
And they’ve done a lot so far.
Shows have included performers like Carly Rae Jepson, Great White, Fefe Dobson, Sharks! On Fire!, Paul Brandt and Uncle Kracker.
Upcoming shows range from blues great Johnny Winter to guitar wizard Alex Cuba to tribute bands ABBA Mania and Night Fever.
Western Canada Theatre is partnering with the venue for Tuesdays with Morrie, starring M*A*S*H veteran Jamie Farr.
Spiekerman said plans are progressing for more theatre-based events at the centre.
But, the young set won’t be ignored, either.
There’s a Big and Small show coming, one that’s geared for the pre-school set and which will also be a benefit for a Kamloops family whose young child is dealing with a life-threatening disease and must travel to Vancouver frequently for treatments.
Rocky Mountain Railtours has been using the theatre part of the centre for the past few years for its dinner theatre.
“Concerts are our big thing for the next six months,” Spiekerman said.
Because the site has a food-primary licence, food has to be a part of all shows and Spiekerman said that’s been a bonus for drawing in audiences.
“There just isn’t any live dinner-theatre venue in Kamloops besides us.”
The local music scene isn’t being ignored.
Many of the shows have had local bands or performers as opening acts, from Paul Filek to the recently formed Fast Lane, a band that impressed Spiekerman enough he wants to have them back to open for Blue Oyster Cult’s show on Aug. 29.
Blackdog Blue will open for Honeymoon Suite on Sept. 17.
“It’s taken some time,” Spiekerman said of the rebranding.
“We’ve been doing this for a year now but it’s growing.
“And we’ve been having a lot of fun so far.”
For more information on the venue and upcoming events, go online here.