Duncan Showroom logo. Supplied by Duncan Showroom Facebook page.
It’s a good news story in a time when we sorely need one.
Thanks to a $10,000 dollar grant from Amplify BC, John Falkner, the owner of the Duncan Showroom, was able to stay in business after the pandemic hit.
A provincial government release notes that the Duncan Showroom was quick to adapt to the pandemic, in fact, it started years before the World Health Organization made the declaration.
“Because we were livestreaming before the pandemic, we were in a great position to switch to streaming as our main format of giving musicians a performance space,” Falkner explained.
Falkner made the decision to go virtual because the small, 60-seat, theatre-style venue couldn’t compete with larger venues.
In March, it removed seats, extended the stage, and put a safety plan in place. The Duncan Showroom offered the 39 Days of July Festival online this year.
Without ticket sales, Falkner was facing the reality of closure.
“I was going to have to close by the end of September,” Falkner said. “After 17 years, I couldn’t let that happen.”
He added, “We’ve never applied for a grant in all the years we’ve been doing this. This grant allowed me to go to my landlord, to the electric company, let me stay in the game. More than that, it reinforced the value of what we’re doing here.”
When James Taylor re-posted a Showroom performance by 11-year-old Malakai, it netted 17,000 views in two days, proving the value of places like the Showroom.