By Rae Porter
Monday Magazine contributor
A musical revolution is happening in the streets of Oak Bay.
As Friday night rolls round, the bass begins to hum, fingers fly across keys and the sound of fiddles can be heard. For the last five years Marie and Adrien Bachand of Beacon Ridge Productions have been expanding the musical landscape of Victoria; bringing Canadian and international folk, bluegrass, jazz, Celtic roots/folk and gypsy jazz artists to various venues around the city.
Beacon Ridge Productions was borne of a desire to be proactive in the management of the careers of Marie and Adrien’s children, Qristina and Quinn Bachand, two incredibly talented, award-winning folk artists in their own right.
“For the past 10 years I’ve been their booking agent and manager,” Marie says. “We’ve toured with them, attended many music festivals and conferences and met lots of great artists.”
From there the opportunities to bring world class artists to the Island grew. It is the Friday night concert series, held in the Upstairs Lounge at Oak Bay Rec Centre, that has been particularly popular, with much of the interest being organically grown by word of mouth.
What makes this space so uniquely popular?
“Tickets are affordable, “ Marie says, “but most importantly we bring quality musicians and present them in a listening room situation; we’re not aware of any other venue in Victoria that are true listening rooms.”
Whether it’s Valdy, The Radcliffes, or the upcoming Chet Baker tribute featuring the Daniel Lapp Quartet, all are afforded the audience’s full attention, an increasingly rare occurrence in many other venues.
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Marie scales back on programming for December, but is still presenting Brazilian guitar virtuoso Celso Machado on Dec. 7.
“He is such a unique performer, we’re looking forward to having him back,” she says. “But there are so many great artists coming up, and we’re truly excited about every single artist we present!”
Make sure that babysitter is booked in advanced going into the new year as Marie and Adrien will not steer you wrong. Standout acts like Pearl Django, Jane Siberry, Steve Dawson, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and Suzie Vinnick are lined up to take the stage.
Three-time Juno Award winner Ashley MacIssac and Quinn Bachand will celebrate the 10 years since their first joint performance with a pair of shows on Feb. 9 and 11 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, both sure to sell out. With this much world-class music on our doorstep, it’s time to join the Beacon Ridge revolution.
Head to beaconridgeproductions.com for more information and tickets for all upcoming shows.