In the Whyte Ave space left vacant by the Pawn Shop, The Forge has emerged as a live music venue for everybody, from metalheads to bassheads.
The Forge, located in the same 10549 82 Avenue spot as the now-shuttered Pawn Shop, will have its grand opening the weekend of February 17. The venue has been open since November however, and in these few months has already hosted artists of all kinds.
Dale Weran is a local promoter and owner of The Forge. He has been around the Edmonton music scene for years, putting on local shows at places like The Starlite Room, Brixx, Rendezvous, as well as some in Calgary. Having first hand knowledge, he knows the local scene inside and out, and with The Forge, hopes to foster an even greater appreciation of live music in Edmonton.
“Without having places to book gigs, or venues and promoters looking at smaller bands, then the scene is gonna die,” Weran says. Four bands have made their debut performances on The Forge’s stage in the months since opening, and many more will do the same when the venue opens full time.
Inside the venue, the team behind The Forge made many changes to make the place more “genre-friendly,” Weran explains. The minimal décor provides a neutral aesthetic that bridges the gap between disparate music scenes. According to Weran, the goal is to create a venue where “anyone can come in and enjoy a show,” no matter what genre that show might be.
What was formerly a second bar has now been converted into a merch booth, which The Forge’s staff operates on behalf of bands, enabling smaller ones to not have to worry about selling their own merchandise. A screen situated across the seating area will soon be running a stream of the shows, so that view of the stage is much more accessible. The same streams will eventually be broadcast online, so that even those at home, or those who don’t catch many live shows will be able to experience a show at The Forge.
Décor aside, having a music minded staff is really important for the environment of The Forge.
“Everyone working at The Forge, or that’s a part of The Forge is part of a band, or in the music scene in one form or another,” Weran says. The results are clear in the reception from attendees so far, as people “really like the vibe.” With a staff that’s engaged in Edmonton’s music scene, the experience on live music is a focus.
“The atmosphere is really great,” Weran continues. “We have really good sound. We put effort into the sound, and we put effort into the stage.”
The stage, which is set up in the corner, is a further testament to the thought put into the live music itself. The sizable stage comes equipped with several risers, including multiple ones for drum kits, allowing The Forge to accommodate larger touring bands as well as the smaller, local openers.
“We built (the stage) so that bands could enjoy their shows and that the audience can feel that energy and enjoy the shows more too,” Weran says. “We built a space that everybody can come out to, and we can bring in the smaller bands and do shows they can be proud of”.
Above all else though, The Forge and Weran are instant that their dedication is solely on Edmonton and its music scenes.
“We aren’t just out to make money,” Weran says. “We’re out to help the community.”