Calgary families yearn for youth spot in local music scene

Posted by Helen Pike on 18 March 2015


There’s a lot of talent pent up in young Calgary musicians but some parents who opt to play roadie instead of soccer mom or dad worry that without a solid all-ages venue there aren’t enough opportunities for kids to join a musical community.

Jason Klapak has two kids in bands with about three years to wait before they can perform in Calgary clubs. Since the New Black Centre in Inglewood closed in 2013, he said there’s little opportunity for his children to get together with a community their own age and be a part of Calgary’s vibrant music scene.

“As a parent who has kids like this, who want to be musically inclined, if they just have their basement and band to practice with, that will fall apart.” Klapak said. “If they don’t have a purpose to their practicing they’re going to find something else to do.”

He added an all-ages space not only gives teens a place to perform together, but offers an affordable outlet to see some of their favourite bands on a dime.

“The wife and I could drop the kids off there with ten bucks each in their pocket and they could go from 6 to 10 p.m.” Klapak said. “Now they’re both in bands and have no place to play and nothing to see.”

Kerry Clarke, artistic director with the Calgary Folk Music Festival, said they’re trying to help fill the void. While those plans are still in their infancy – she hopes changes will come in the fall – they just started hosting Folk U, a workshop and jam session for kids polishing up skills. The next one is set to run March 27.

“We want to start filling part of that gap, but we won’t be the venue once a week that kids can go to,” Clarke said. “We’re trying to just start to do something on a regular basis in conjunction with what the community wants.”

Rachel Schadlich, a mother of two rockers, is almost out of the woods, her daughter is 17 and her son just turned 18. She said there are spaces to play, but they’re often few and far between – nothing a designated all ages venue could offer.

Her daughter Faith Schadlich is in a three-piece girl band, Compound 3, and they just started playing live.

She said finding fellow performers is tough, and locating gigs even more difficult, two things she believes could be remedied by an all ages club.