Local metal fans seek community feedback to help plan future performances.
Samantha Rothenburg is a seasoned veteran of Fredericton’s heavy music community. Over the past several years she has organized a number of all-ages performances, hosting some of metal’s biggest underground acts to tour the region. But a steady decline in attendance forced her to put a hold on future performances.
As a member of the Facebook group Fredericton Metal, Rothenburg is now reaching out to learn a little more about the local all-ages community and the shows they want to see.
“With Fredericton Metal, we’ve noticed a serious decline in show attendance for metal/punk shows, a decline in venues, a decline in the amount of bands coming this way, and a decline in funding for shows,” said Rothenburg. “We’re trying to better understand what draws people to shows, what’s preventing them from attending, and what are they looking for to happen in the scene.”
Over the past decade Rothenburg has witnessed a steady decline in venues and bands coming through the area willing to play for an all-ages crowd. She believes this decline is due in part to a lack of venues able to accommodate such performances. Without regular stages to play the shows can’t happen and if the shows aren’t happening, the potential audience will continue to decline.
Take the survey – HERE
“Between 2000 and 2008 there was a steady rise of shows,” she said. “Bands like Behemoth, Michael Graves, Cancer Bats, Protest the Hero, The Human Abstract, Shotgun Cure and Behold, the Arctopus to name a few, were steady bands that traveled here. Based on our research, there were shows happening almost every month, if not every couple of months. There was access to venues such as the Capital Winter Club, the Kinsmen Centre, the Elks Club, and the Charlotte Street Arts Centre for all ages shows and even for wet/dry events. We had a decent venue in the Musiplex, but the venue couldn’t attract the crowds or the bands.
“Today, we’re limited on venues. The Charlotte Street Arts Centre isn’t taking on any shows due to renovations. The Capital Winter Club won’t host any music events due to noise issues and neighbour complaints. If bands want a show, the only venue we really have available is the Capital Complex.”
Rothenburg and members of the Fredericton Metal Facebook community were inspired to create a public survey after reading a recent CBC article that suggested the importance of earlier performances as one way to keep the live music community thriving.
In Fredericton, the Capital Complex has been actively trying to accommodate the growing interest in earlier performances by occasionally hosting two-tiered evenings with an early show and a late show. And Grimross Brewery and Corked Wine Bar have also established audiences for earlier shows, often with an 8 p.m. start time, but where does this leave fans of heavy music?
“The CBC article really caught our attention,” said Rothenburg. “So we created a survey to help us better understand the factors that affect things like show attendance and why we’re having issues with keeping venues. Is it cost of venue? Is it the cost of shows? Is $5 too low for an admittance fee? Is it the bands? Is it lack of support? Is it lack of marketing?
“The research will be used to help organize some shows later this year as well as help with the documentary that we’ve been working on for the past few years,” she said. “We want to see our scene continue to thrive.”