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July In Vancouver

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The weather for the most part, is, and has been fantastic, and for the tourist, Vancouver is in full hustle and bustle, which means music is in full swing. There’s lots of live music to watch and listen to, but lately, as a full time performer/artist, I’m finding that many larger chains, or established venues, are wanting quality and consistency. As I’m performing 5 nights a week (or more), I miss many shows, but I’m aware of a few acquaintances around the city that are consistently good with their musical presentations and they seem to be working all the time. If your S*** is together, it’s a matter of getting out there to pound the pavement.

While I’m on the subject of pavement pounding – specifically at locations around Vancouver, I came across Bruce Allen’s Facebook rant page today, and couldn’t agree more about his statements regarding Vancouvers Lower Eastside. For those of you unfamiliar with BA, he is a management guru for many artists including Bryan Adams, Michael Bubl√®, and many more. Specifically, what his vocal blog contributes to (the way I see it) talks about the success or failures of his surroundings by calling things the way he sees it, in the hopes of change, for whatever the subject. Today’s statement talked about former Toronto Raptor basketball player Danny Green having his car broken into, and his bags stolen. That being said and done, the underlying context was given to the area he was visiting: “The Worst Street In North America” as stated by Green on CTV news.

Moving forward, the personal point and connection that I’ll bring to light if you’re visiting Vancouver: I don’t pound pavement within a 5 block radius of Main and Hastings. To me, this area is unsafe, and to be clear, I would not walk around that area at any time of day. This ghetto-like area spills over into the downtown core through Gastown, east towards Commercial Drive, and north towards Main/Broadway sometimes. The People of this Ghetto wonder the streets while not paying attention to traffic laws, set up tarps, use or are hooked on serious drugs (google any article using the words drugs/opioids/overdose/Vancouver), people sleep on the streets, or yell and fight with each other, there’s garbage everywhere, and, I could go on. One related article states that this is a “recent” problem. Untrue. I grew up in Vancouver, and I’ve always thought the area was in a sad and unclean state. Over the years, the area has expanded, the dependant population has grown, and the city has failed with all attempts to clean up the area. I recently went to Tinseltown which is a Movie theatre and small shopping mall in the area. From that experience, I won’t go back as I wasn’t comfortable leaving my vehicle. Although nothing happened, I have now deemed the area a complete write-off, and will not travel through or go to that area for any reason. Quarantined.

There are a few venues that I used to play at when I was starting out on my musical journey, but most have closed or moved on. The Town Pump was always a crowd pleaser in the 80’s and 90’s (ok, I used to sneak in when I was underage), but now, I won’t even travel over to the Lamplighter in historical Gastown, for fear of dealing with the Ghettofolk. By the way, I hear that The Cambie is shutting its doors? So, I won’t be performing on the eastside anytime soon. If you’re a tourist, I recommend staying away from the area, especially if you’re walking. If you’re looking for some decent music venues, the outer-lying city areas are plentiful, and Vancouver does have its water and mountains for those of you looking for something to do.

Hey Vancouver City, I have a question: What are you going to do about this growing Ghetto? As far as I can see, there isn’t a carpet big enough for it to be swept under, and what you’ve been doing apparently doesn’t work.

Standing by for at least 25 years.

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