Advocates for the indie music scene who are sick of waiting for their own room to rock have organized a free all-ages conference this weekend where the public can talk with Ian MacKaye, founder of Dischord Records and the bands Fugazi and Minor Threat.
MacKaye is the keynote speaker at S.P.A.C.E. Camp, or Skills for Performing Artists Through Community Engagement, which happens at Chapel Arts, Sept. 8 and 9.
“One of the goals in Vancouver is to help and create spaces for young musicians and for the D.I.Y. music scene in the city,” said Emily Guerrero, a board member of the Safe Amplification Site Society.
Camp-goers will learn about do-it-yourself music-making in an assortment of workshops during the conference, which includes an all-ages show Saturday night with K Records and Beat Happening founder Calvin Johnson and local bands The Evaporators, Nu Sensae and The Bank Dogs.
Workshops include “Peer security and anti-oppression: How to make music spaces safer without being an asshole or hiring the secret service,” interviewing tips from punk rock journalist and Evaporators frontman Nardwuar the Human Serviette, and “Everyone’s a critic (and most people are DJs): an introduction to music journalism.”
Guerrero says the non-profit group wanted to foster more communication between members of the local indie music scene who may have not connected before, and strengthen links between D.I.Y. music types in Vancouver and Seattle. Members of Seattle’s VERA Project, a volunteer-run all-ages music, arts and education space, will share how it runs in a workshop on Sunday.
Even more ambitious than S.P.A.C.E. Camp is the Safe Amplification Site Society’s goal of opening an all-ages venue in Vancouver.
Guerrero said the three-year-old society, which is steered by music lovers in their 20s and 30s, has raised nearly $15,000 of the $20,000 it estimates it needs to cover the start-up costs for a new venue, including permits, gear and the first few months’ rent.
With a grant of $2,500 from the city, Safe Amp is close to completing a two- to five-year feasibility plan for opening an all-ages space. The group has been looking for a possible spot in different neighbourhoods.
In the meantime, Safe Amp is fuelling youth’s creative energy and efforts with S.P.A.C.E. Camp sessions on how to make your own distortion pedals, fashioning acoustic instruments from garbage, and practical tips from pros on booking shows, touring and recording. Attendees need to pre-register for workshops.
Workshops start at 10:30 a.m. at Chapel Arts, 304 Dunlevy Ave. MacKaye will lead a group discussion that starts at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday. Doors for the concert open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30. There is a $5 to $10 sliding scale cover charge for the concert, with funds benefiting Safe Amp.
For more information, see safeampspacecamp.tumblr.com.