By Kate Butler @butler2
Here’s the second article in Kate Butler’s series Temporary Venues, exploring the Fredericton all-ages scene between 1997-2006.
Tanya Duffy was not only a huge supporter of the all ages scene, she also had a hand in cultivating it by organizing all-ages shows along with her pal and fellow show-goer Chris Jackson, under the name Deleted Scene.
Following an all too familiar story, Duffy and Jackson’s partnership grew simply out of need. After numerous city venues had shut their doors to younger audiences following damage to property by a careless few, these two would-be promoters began building new relationships with venue owners and landlords and inadvertently began writing the next chapter in Fredericton all-ages culture.
“We started organizing shows mostly because we wanted to see live music and thought it was unfair that the punk scene had a bad rep,” said Duffy. “Things evolved quite quickly and we started getting calls from all over the country from bands like Moneen, Choke and Alexisonfire, who were all heading through.”
The late 90’s and early 2000’s were a transition time for online media. Websites were just starting to become an essential tool for promotion and communication between bands, venues, and fans alike. Like many other show promoters and producers at the time, Deleted Scene were also looking to create an online community like others popping up across the county and became one of the first in the city (and possibly the province) to do so.
“A few years into putting on shows we moved things online and created a website, where we could talk about upcoming shows and connect bands within the province. This was before social networking started so getting the word out was more of a challenge than it is now. We even got to be on Much Music once.”
For the first time, Fredericton musicians performing on the all-ages circuit had an easy means to connect with others throughout the province, expanding on established networks and creating new ones.
As the pair continued hosting and promoting shows, larger and more established groups began calling. One of Deleted Scene’s larger productions involved a show with Winnipeg’s political punks, Propaghandi, at the Farmer’s Market. The show drew a larger crowd than expected and caught the folks from Deleted Scene a bit off guard.
“We had about 500 people show up at the Market for Propaghandhi in 2001,” said Duffy, “and I had forgotten to get security guards or didn’t think it was necessary. I ran around and asked my tall friends to pretend to be security for a bit so I wouldn’t get in trouble with the tour manager who was super angry.”
Although Duffy notes what kept her coming back to shows was the pure fun of it all, she also credits lead vocalist and former Frederictonian Jen Thorpe of Vancouver’s Submission Hold for having the largest influence on her during her all-ages days. “The Submission Hold show that happened at the Elk’s Club in ’98 or ’99 was the best thing ever. It was the first time I saw female-fronted, politically-minded, loud music and it was hugely influential for me. At that time there were a group of people turning up at all ages shows to cause trouble. They referred to themselves as “skinheads” but basically they were a bunch of dicks who wore white laces in their boots and tried to intimidate everyone. The gal in Submission Hold stood outside the venue that night and firmly insisted that they take their shenanigans elsewhere unless they wanted to play nice.”
Although Duffy’s all-ages shows are now in the past, she has fond memories of those days and shares what she would like those who are involved in the current all ages scene to know.
“It was such an important part of my youth, sometimes I wish I could go back in time and see Room 101 again for the first time. In all seriousness, there are definitely a lot of talented young people in Fredericton making great music. Cheers to anyone who does book all ages shows – its hard work but it’s really important and it needs to happen.”
Tanya Duffy is a graphic designer and owner of The Details design studio. She’s a graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art & Design. She what she’s up to at www.thedetailsdesign.com