The Music Community Steps Up Again
On January 4, 2020 the London music scene took a huge hit as one of its most iconic live music venues collapsed due to economic times. Norma Jeans “The Home of Live Music” was forced to close its doors after a five-decade run under different formats and owners.
Yet another victim of stringent and suffocating rules and regs of the Ontario Government, it is a pattern that is all too familiar.
The #1 problem for venue owners and musicians is that they don’t build automobiles – if they did, the subsidies and taxpayer bailouts would be served on a golden platter. Music Canada’s 2012 report stated that the total economic impact of live music in Ontario’s economy is $1.2 billion. and contributed $432.4 million in taxes to all levels of government combined. The economic impact of live music companies includes 10,500 full-time equivalent jobs, and tourism activity accounts for an additional 9,520.
Those are daunting economic numbers to be sure.
As of December 8, 2015, Live Music Measures Up: An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Ontario is the first comprehensive view of the economic benefits of the province’s live-music scene. Prepared for Music Canada by the consulting firm Nordicity, the new report surveyed shows the sector provides the equivalent of 20,000 full-time jobs and contributes $1.2 billion to the economy. more than 370 booking agents, artist managers, venue owners, promoters and festival personnel and conducted interviews with dozens of representatives in the industry.
What isn’t thrown into the blender is the number of servers, cooks, doormen that are also employed in the industry – that number would be staggering.
As such, when a venue closes its doors it affects not only the venue owner and musicians, but dominoes into a rippling effect on the service side of the industry that mostly affects single Moms, students working part-time, women trying to contribute to the household family expenses.
Most of us that go out “on the town” have our favorite haunts and/or we go to several where we get to know everyone from the venue owner/Manager to the servers, doormen and cooks in some cases. They become friends of varying degrees and make the entire “night out” just a little more special because of our interaction with them.
The Staff at Norma Jeans were good friends to those of us who played or frequented the venue, it was the remembering your name to what type of drink you always ordered – it was to many “home”.
With that thought in mind, the idea of a benefit to help raise some funds to bide the staff through came to me. I called Mario from the London Forest City Music Awards and he thought it was a great idea, Cristina Parker who is a force of nature when it comes to benefits was totally into it.
Union Ten Distilling Co. loved the idea of supporting the music community and not only supplied their fantastic live music venue with the amazing PA System supplied by Music City Canada but offered to pitch in $1.00 from every drink sold the day of the Benefit.
Robert (guitarist in The Mongrels) from The Village Idiot jumped in with both feet with a spectacular offer of donating $5.00 from every ticket sold at his store and Howie Kittleson from “Saturday Morning with HowieZowie” on CHRW jumped in as well. As well I have at least a dozen people message me to offer their help to pull this event off, that’s where having positive people in your life pays off in spades.
The feedback from the Staff has been more than positive as well as blessings from Theo and his family personally. When the word came out to the music industry – it took me literally 3 days to deal with all the bands who committed to the event – I had so many I could have run a 12-hour event.
The bands/artists in many cases are coming in to play before they head off to other gigs in town or out of town, and they are all donating their talent and time for free.
London’s Music Community has proven over and over that it slams the bell when called upon to help, it’s been that way in this city for decades and I’m sure it will never change.
I’ve had so much positive feedback about this event and support from the artists, bands, community businesses, people across the board that it is truly an honor.
February 8th is going to be a great day filled with celebration, great friends, stellar live music and great memories.
We’ll see you there.
Tickets available at:
Union Ten Distilling Co. (Cash ONLY) on Tuesday & Wednesday 10am-5pm
The Village Idiot Cash ONLY - every sold ticket they will donate $5 to the Benefit
Groove Records $1 Admin Charge
Jesse & Lucja Grant (duo)
Chris Eh Young (solo)
Chris Rowan (Eli the Prophet) – Rap
Mike Trudgen (solo)
Shelly Rastin Band
The Issues with Kimberly
Scott Atchison – RJ Conspiracy
Dave’s Not Here
Reverend Freddie Band
Darkness of Greed (Rage Against the Machine Tribute)
Rocket Queen – Headliner