Seamus McGrath lives to promote the bands he loves, and as the organizer of a local concert series and record label, he has made sure his life revolves around music.
McGrath runs Not Yer Buddy, an Abbotsford-based promotion company and record label. McGrath said that although Abbotsford already has a supportive music community, his goal is to provide an outlet for the type of musicians who struggle to get exposure – punk and rock bands.
“The bands that play punk rock, and garage rock and metal, they don’t have outlets here,” he said. “(We’re trying) to create a sustainable environment for those bands.”
McGrath started out organizing concerts in local homes, putting a special emphasis on making sure the events were safe and not attended by police. After moving to Abbotsford in 1997, McGrath understood that the underground music scene in Abbotsford was associated with violence. But, he wanted to create a space for people to enjoy their music without any threat.
“I just wanted a safe, music-rich environment for my friends.”
In November 2011, he organized the first show under the Not Yer Buddy title in a local home.
“Our goal was to do responsible house shows – shows where the cops didn’t show up.”
Eventually, he wanted to legitimize the concerts and bring them into a bar setting. McGrath struck a deal with Gator’s Pub on Essendene Avenue to start hosting performances on the weekends. He now runs concerts about every two weeks on Fridays at Gator’s, and also organizes concerts in Vancouver. Though he strives to bring bands from other cities into Abbotsford, he emphasizes promoting local talent, which he says also helps to draw in local fans.
McGrath’s efforts are aided by his wife and friends who volunteer their time to help organize, take tickets at the door, and ensure a controlled event. Without their help, McGrath said it wouldn’t be possible to run the events and properly pay the bands who perform.
To support the promotion outfit financially, McGrath sells merchandize and operates as a record label, releasing albums and compilations with music from local bands. McGrath said the second compilation he made sold out in two months.