Live music is making a slow and steady resurgence in British Columbia, from the screen to the stage.

Image Source - Google
Image Source - Google

Bonnie Northgraves, a jazz artist, took in the sights at one of the stages for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival just a few days before she played her first public gig in over a year. Workers erected fencing, lighting, and sound systems. But there was one thing that drew her attention. Prior to the pandemic, the vintage jazz-inspired performer performed up to five times each week. But, with concerts on hold for more than a year, she utilized the opportunity to compose. Much of the music was inspired by feelings of loneliness and confinement.

Northgraves brought that song to the live stage on Friday, marking one of the first live concerts in British Columbia as the province begins its progressive reopening. Over the following week, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival will host hybrid virtual and live concerts with small crowds. And, when limits are loosened in the coming weeks, more and more venues are preparing to accommodate larger people.

The Commodore Ballroom on the popular Granville Strip has performances scheduled beginning at the end of August, and Rogers Arena has recently announced that tickets for October acts are now on sale.; Mo Tarmohamed, owner of the Rickshaw Theatre on East Hastings, says he had a deluge of booking requests as soon as BC announced its plan to return.

He’s been recording virtual events on his stage for the past few months, and he hopes to continue doing so throughout the summer, rather than hosting shows with limited numbers, which aren’t nearly economically possible for the venue. That is, until September 7, when British Columbia is scheduled to undertake Step 4 of its restart plan (provided all criteria are met). Masks will be a personal option in public indoor scenarios under Step 4.Concerts will have more capacity, and British Columbians can expect typical social contact.

The current minimal criteria for that phase is that 70% of people have received at least one vaccination dose (as long as hospitalizations and case counts remain low). As of this week, that figure stands at 77%. Tarmohamed was inspired by the trend to arrange a show for September 11th, and he claims he’s now fully booked for weekends through December. However, he is concerned about the ramifications of unvaccinated attendance.