- BC Games
Connect with Us
Showroom a treasure worthy of more support
I write in a strong heartfelt appreciation of Longevity John Falkner’s Showroom endeavours in the Duncan Garage.
It was a pleasant surprise to move out here and find a feast of delights in music of many genres to be heard at the Showroom.
Long John truly knows the arts and particularly the music scene. His contacts across this country through the past decades is legendary. Many well known and often recorded acts turn up in Duncan at his behest, as they have heard so much about the acoustics and ambiance of that special, intimate coffee house atmosphere.
In late September, the Showroom hosted a fundraiser to celebrate its 10th anniversary and what John proudly describes as some 2,600 shows. It’s a staggering feat in one short decade, surely unparalleled outside the likes of Broadway. Those of us who listen to CBC2 have heard so many of these names, and to think they will drop in to our backyard for a mere pittance is a treat many would sorely miss if it was to disappear.
On that Saturday, I was quite unprepared for the quality of performance from this group of very fine players who were dedicating their time and full efforts to what they knew is a tremendous cause.
And therein lies the problem. The number of people who came out to support this amazing show was OK, but as a fundraiser, it was very disappointing.
The nuts and bolts of budgeting such a labour of love cannot live on air when there are bills to pay and performers who need more than token appearance fees when they are of such national, and even international level of appeal and stature.
John does an amazing job for supporting upcoming and local talent. His ability to recognize and foster such talent in our valley is incredible. The 39 Days of July is an excellent forum for many artists in varied callings, genres and idioms to share the love and passion of their work with a wider public.
Unfortunately, it is all free and John has been hoisted by his own petard in that the same people are usually unwilling to come to the regular, late evening performances in the Showroom during that extended July run. He is “competing against himself.”
His 39 days is a source of so much entertaining pleasure at the height of gorgeous summer weather to so many locals. It also acts as a tremendous flagship to supporting the cultural efforts of this valley and promoting the tourism in this City of Totems. I am baffled that the city and Cowichan region cannot support this immense treasure more robustly.
Can ‘no man be a prophet with honour in his own country’ and at least eke out a living when providing such a tremendous public service?
John is no longer as young a man, and it can be a dispiriting fight to toil almost thanklessly in this fine labour and end up not putting much bread on the table.
As an outsider I can testify that such a cultural icon of widespread talents contributing such fine amusement for our artistic senses is a rare, rare commodity indeed. I hope we as residents do not wake one day realizing we “don’t know what we’ve got ‘til it’s gone” to our sore surprise.
Robin Lawson retired to Duncan from Ottawa two years ago.