There’s something magic about Jason Verners.
The energetic 14-year-old has yet to hit high school – his family’s Langford house backs onto the greenbelt behind Belmont secondary – which will force him to break from his Simple Arts and Love summer tour.
But it can’t pry him away from being a full-time magician.
“When I booked 22 shows for my tour this summer I didn’t think it was that much but I’m learning 22 is a lot,” Verners said.
On Saturday (Aug. 10) Verners will perform at Rock’n the Bike Fest, the second annual festival and show and shine run by Angels Choppers Bicycle Club at 950 Kings St. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. He’s among a big list of performers with Wil, Steph MacPherson, Karen Fowlie, Jason Lowe, Neil Trett and Al Harlow of Prism, with dancing by the AC/BC dance crew.
Verner’s stage time is 1:50 p.m.
AC/BC is built on the positive mission out of restoring and upgrading bikes by inviting youth to put their creative energy into the bikes, while using music and dance as well.
“I’ve done lots of festivals but this one is a little bit different. You can see these kids learning all these skills building bikes which is interesting and moving that they can use those skills for the rest of their lives. All the people from AC/BC have been grateful and generous to me and are big supporters.”
The past eight months have been a massive learning curve Verners said, and AC/BC was part of it.
Verners had picked up some awards in 2012 – third place at the International Magic Experience Youth Magic Championships in Las Vegas, and the Lon Dingwell Young Magician of the Year in Victoria – and was ready to move on from small-time performer to selling out a ticketed event.
“Some friends and I created a show called The Magic Music and Make Memories Show and we wanted somewhere to do it.”
Verners attended a music show at Fernwood’s Victoria House Concert B, a glorified Victorian parlour lined with lawn chairs and bar stools for seating.
“It’s a long bus ride from (the West Shore). We’re just kids. We don’t have driving licenses. But I was so eager, we organized everything. I kind of forgot to tell my mom, so by the time I did I said, ‘Mom, we’re doing a show at a house in Fernwood.’ It was already set up so she couldn’t say no. It was brilliant.”
This is after Verners and friends made a frenzied 18-hour reconnaissance mission to Fernwood, including a two-hour walk from the Bay Centre to Vic High, their landmark for finding House Concert B.
“Looking back it was kind of terrifying. It was dark and cold, it was November, kind of brutal. We’re just kids, we kept making wrong turns. I left at 8 a.m. and got home at 2 a.m. We wanted to get there early and see how they set up the show but we barely made it in time for the opening act.”
It created a whole new level of trust with parents Candace and Jim, though it’s mutually agreed that unescorted 2 a.m. nights are not ideal.
“We sold our show out in two weeks at $15 a ticket, I don’t even know how we did it,” Verners said.
Following Rock’n the Bike Fest, Verners is headed to Vegas for a four-day stint of shows. He’ll wrap up the summer tour in Honeymoon Bay on Aug. 24.
Then he’ll get ready for high school.
Tickets for Rock’n the Bike Fest are $10. Children are free with an adult through acbcbikes.com.