Arts & CultureCampus & CityCultural Affairs

Back to Live highlights local artists and industry speakers

There will be performances by VISSIA, Ghost Woman, and Arlo Maverick on November 11 at The Starlite Room.

BreakOut West’s Back to Live programming is bringing back live music — a component of the local arts scene sorely missed during the pandemic.

BreakOut West is an organization that aggregates western Canadian music. They host an annual festival that offers a conference as well as a showcase of live performances. To celebrate the return to live performances, BreakOut West is offering a five-week series of live events titled Back to Live in different cities in western Canada. The date of Edmonton’s show is November 11.

The event will be held in a hybridized format, offering both a free virtual stream and a free in-person show at The Starlite Room. Starting the night off there will be speakers from the music industry at 6 p.m., and live performances will begin at 7:30 p.m..

Speakers at the event include Jay Gilday, Mariel Buckley, Andrea Kotylak from The Starlite Room, and Grant Stovel from CKUA Radio Network. Three artists will be performing live. 

First to perform will be VISSIA, a folk-rock artist based in the city. The second performance will be by Ghost Woman, a band that times their releases with the eve of the full moon. And the final performance of the night will be presented by Arlo Maverick, a well-known figure in the Edmonton hip hop scene.

Liam Prost, programming manager for BreakOut West, explained that the speakers for the event would be shedding light on the local scene.

“The industry conferences [are] speaking about… what’s going on in these [western Canadian] cities,” Prost said. “We’re going to talk to some people who are really making moves up there in Edmonton and have really been affected by this and are going to kind of be able to speak what we have seen in Edmonton over the last couple of years; what’s changed, what are the new opportunities kind of growing in the live music sector in Edmonton; what are some of the things that we’ve lost and we need to kind of rebuild and rebuild better than we had before?”

Prost also mentioned that Edmonton’s Back to Live event would be particularly interesting because of the speakers’ unique perspective of Edmonton.

“I think the Edmonton one is going to be particularly interesting because some of the folks who are speaking are folks who are kind of Edmonton transplants — people [who] have actually moved to Edmonton during the pandemic,” he said.

Back to Live aims to accurately represent the cities they are performing at, which plays a part in which artists perform at the show.

“What we kind of wanted to do with this project is make sure that we’re representing the spaces and the people who have been affected by this, but also have been doing great work and are great bastions of the community,” Prost explained.

“This is also a great way to kind of show off what’s amazing about Edmonton to everyone else. You know, put on this stream and kind of show off that music.”

Finally, Prost explained that he hopes audiences will remember that places like Edmonton are still “happening.”

“There’s amazing music there; these places didn’t go away just because you haven’t been there in the last six months,” Prost said. “We want to get you excited about going back to Edmonton, playing shows at The Starlite Room, [and] about listening to this music and seeing it live again.”

“We just kind of want to reinvigorate [and] celebrate the return to live, and really just get people excited about their local music communities again and hopefully get people going out just shows again if they can do it safely and responsibly.’

BreakOut West will be hosting their annual festival in February 2022, as well as continuing west with their Back to Live series. Check out the full list of events on their Facebook page.

Jin He

Jin previously served as the 2021-22 Production Editor at The Gateway. She also had a brief stint as 2022-23 Production Editor. She is in her first year studying pharmacy. If not sleeping, she can often be found supporting local artisans, obsessing over e-sports, and sporting some wicked earrings.

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