Sellout crowds indicate success for the Friday night musical experiment at Oak Bay Rec.
They started transforming the Sports View Lounge into Friday evening Upstairs Lounge venues last year and with just four shows left, promoter Marie Bachand is already booking for next September.
“The first fall we started with a swing jazz theme but there was a need to branch out,” said Janet Barclay, manager of recreation programs.
The audience expanded as Bachand, promoter and producer of the live music series, varied the musical stylings.
“We have a core group, but we also have different people coming out,” Barclay said.
People are taking advantage of the all-ages venue that offers an opportunity for a full family night out, she added. Many enjoy a themed dinner to make a full night of it.
“The shows have been well attended. We’ve had a good response from not just the Oak Bay community but a lot of folks that have come out to the shows,” said Bachand. “Once you get past the rec centre … you open the doors to the lounge and it’s a nightclub. It’s another completely different vibe.”
This Friday’s concert features a new venture, a trio of Victoria’s most outstanding singer-songwriters – Kristia Di Gregorio, Terry Brennan and Dan Weisenberger – offering varied backgrounds, song-writing and musical stylings in an intimate setting.
“They’ll all be on stage together sharing,” Bachand said. “There are enough artists out there that are really good, we just don’t see them holding an entire show on their own. We’re going to try it out and they’re [each] very different.”
Tango is on tap April 24, Grammy Award nominee Pablo Diemecke and his DieMahler Ensemble along with soprano Haley Tarnow. It will also feature a quick tango demo and lesson.
“There’s a dance floor at the venue so it’s to take advantage of that, we expect that to be a pretty posh evening,” Bachand said.
On May 8 Cassie & Maggie MacDonald, who hail from Nova Scotia, will perform.
Bijoux du Bayou will close the season with a Cajun Zydeco dance party May 22.
“Then we’ll start up again in September. … We’ve got some pretty amazing people who will be performing,” Bachand said.
Back by popular demand, Groove Kitchen will make its third appearance on Sept. 18.
Dave Gunning from Nova Scotia is already booked for Sept. 25. “He’s a heavy hitter on the East Coast and a fantastic singer, songwriter and entertainer.”
That show follows the East Meets West format of a sold-out show with Mae Moore in Victoria last year, this year featuring Colleen Eccleston.
The April 10 triple-bill starts at 7 p.m. Tickets for all shows are $12 in advance at Ivy’s Bookshop and Oak Bay Recreation or at beaconridge productions.com online. Tickets are $15 at the door.