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L.A. Beat

A venue too big, a venue too small....

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In response to all the fuss being made lately about funding, our local arts community appreciation and the new CASA building, I believe that another related issue is being somewhat overlooked.CASA opens  May 15-17. Photo by Ricahrd Amery
As an avid music lover and regular attendee of concerts big and small, I have no qualms about the new building, its purpose or its name. Yet when it comes to music as an art form, something in this city has been nagging at me for some time now.
This city has some great venues and show promoters, including The Slice Bar & Grill, The Owl Acoustic Lounge, The Geomatic Attic and more. All of these locales bring in quality Canadian acts at least several times a week, entertaining up to 200 people each time. Then we have the Enmax Centre in which acts like Motley Crue or Bob Dylan entertain up to 7,000 attendees.

Herein lies my issue. We have venues for small touring acts and venues for large touring acts - and a very wide gap in between.
Because of this discrepancy, hundreds of touring Canadian acts including the likes of Broken Social Scene, Metric, Propagandhi and Sarah Harmer; will opt to skip over a city like ours on their touring schedules. They will play Saskatoon, Calgary, and Edmonton instead; where they can sell out a 'mid-size' venue, entertaining 2,500 fans in the process.

When it comes to our city, they could choose to sell out half the seats at the Enmax Centre, or sell out several nights back-to-back at one of the smaller venues. Even our own homegrown prairie darlings like Corb Lund, Tegan and Sara, and The Sheepdogs may choose to pass us by. We're just not fit to showcase those acts that aren't quite ready for a stadium, but are much too popular to continue playing smaller gigs for smaller audiences.

From what I've been reading, the new CASA building will have a musical component, in offering music education classes to the community. I have yet to read anything about it containing a musical theatre though, one that might have enough seating for even 1,000 people.

As a big music fan, I hope that city hall may consider this in the future, if only as another way to bring money into Lethbridge's coffers; rather than watching those ticket dollars ride the tour buses into Alberta's bigger cities.

— By Chris Hibbard Music Lover, Special to L.A. Beat
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