1. Rogue In Trouble Hi folks. It's been a while since my last blog went out. We haven't had many shows over the summer, what with the renovations in the hall and the plethora of festivals and holiday season and all. The Steve Dawson show at the Wise Hall a couple of weeks ago was a success, but that has been our only show since mid June, and our successful run of concerts from January to May - most of which made a profit or at least broke even - seems a long time gone. Meanwhile the bills continue to roll in and we have also had to recruit a replacement Admin Assistant with the impending departure of Gabriel Dubreuil at the end of this month. The negative cash flow of the past three months has been compounded by the discovery that one or two of our suppliers haven't been billing us the way they used to, and we will find ourselves facing a large deficit once those bills get paid.
We have had an amazing run of over 30 years now, running at or around break-even throughout that time. We did face a large deficit back in 2001, though, and that was when we held our first and only Rogue Fundraiser. It was at the Wise Hall, towards the end of the year. Several bands donated their services, with Mad Pudding topping the bill, and the show raised over $6,000. With further donations more than doubling that amount we were able to keep afloat, thanks to our loyal supporters and friends in the local music scene. Capilano College (as it was then known) had just launched their Global Roots series and we kept the Rogue flag flying at their shows for a year or so before Canadian Heritage stepped in with a grant from their new Arts Presentation Canada fund. These saved our bacon, and when St. James Community Square offered us a new "home" we were able to embark upon a new era of successful shows. For the next 14 years or so!
However, that Canadian Heritage $30,000 grant in 2002 was worth a lot more than the same grant is now in 2017. Maybe twice as much.
Last November and this January we staged two fundraising concerts for the renovations at St. James Hall. These were very successful, but Rogue donated the net proceeds to the fund, so our cash flow has suffered a bit. We also have to remit $2 per ticket to that same fund, and this has eaten away at our profit margin - which has always been pretty small!
Another factor that has affected our finances was the calculated gamble we took in hiring / retaining staff to work on extra grant applications last Fall. We were successful in obtaining a grant to stage a Fiddle Festival next February, but we won't recoup any of that extra revenue until the event takes place - and only if it is a roaring success!
So it is with heavy heart and not a little embarrassment that I feel compelled to ask you - our loyal supporters, members of the Rogue, and erstwhile pillars of the music community - to rally round and help us stage a fundraising event this fall. We don't have a date as yet, but hope to nail one down in the next few days. It will probably take place in late October or early November. Meanwhile, we will be holding some fire sales and silent auctions at all our shows in an effort to keep things going.
How can you help?
Well, the most obvious method is to support our concerts. Buy tickets. Bring your friends. Help us spread the word.
If you have any items or services you could donate to our silent auctions, please let us know.
We have some excellent CDs from past Rogues and duplicate items and all sorts of rare recordings which we would like to sell at our shows. In the past we have sold such items for as little as $1 each. We hope to do a lot better in future.
One new feature we introduced earlier this year is that of Sponsorship. Anyone can sponsor a concert at The Rogue. If you have a favourite artist who is coming to The Rogue - or indeed, someone you would like us to present in future - please contact us about sponsoring the show.
If you own a business - or work for a company you think might be able to offer us more substantial support - please let us know. Ideally we would like to find a Series Sponsor to help us produce events like April In Paris (our annual gypsy jazz festival), or a series of Celtic bands, or Blues performers, for instance. Even better, a Signature Sponsor for all our shows would be great! We feel that associating with one of the principal Folk & Roots concert series in North America would be really good for business - and not just for OUR business!
If you would like to help us get back on our feet again, please call us on 604-732-1305 during office hours (10am - 5pm weekdays) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading this far! 2. Concerts Coming Up At The Rogue
We kick off our new season with Birds of Chicago at St. James Hall on Thursday September 7th. Tickets are going fast! Full details and tickets here
The following evening we present the debut cross-Canada tour of Newfoundland singer / guitarist / songwriter / raconteur Matthew Byrne - in my opinion, the finest traditional singer in the country. Certainly one of our finest singers EVER. He has just released his 3rd CD, Horizon Lines. It's a wonderful collection of songs from the rock. Tickets & Info here
On Wednesday September 13th we present the first Vancouver concert in many a year for legendary Blues / Soul singer Maria Muldaur and her fine band at The Rio Theatre (Broadway & Commercial). This prestigious show is a bit of a leap of faith for us. We hope you will get on board! She is an amazing performer. Details here
Friday September 15th sees the return of one of BC's finest ever stringbands - and vocal harmony groups - The Bills (back at St. James Hall.) This will be a scintillating evening of Canadiana!
The following Monday 18th we present the return of Bluegrass fiddler / singer / songwriter Laurie Lewis (who made her Rogue debut in 1987 at The Savoy) with her wonderful new band The Right Hands
On Saturday September 23rd Garnet Rogers completes what will be his final tour of the west with a concert at St. James. He's played many times at The Rogue, dating back to 1987, and is touring with his new book about life on the road with - and without - his late brother Stan.
We round out the month on Friday September 29th with a very new take on recent nostalgia! Early Spirit is a quartet led by Spirit of the West co-founder Jay Knutson, joined by the brilliant fiddler Gabriel Dubreuil, bassist Will Ross, and Ben Kelly (son of Geoff Kelly of SOTW fame) on percussion.
We have some great shows lined up in October, too, and are adding more shows on a regular basis. We just hope we can keep things going!
With your much-appreciated and crucial support we can! 3. Radio Waves Every Saturday from 8am to noon I present The Saturday Edge On Folk on CiTR fm 101.9 It is streamed live on www.citr.ca and podcasts of the entire show are available later in the day. On this week's show I'll have extensive previews of all the concerts listed above, plus some new releases and old favourites too. I hope you can join me!
I just updated the Radio Rogue playlist with 100 or more songs by upcoming Rogue performers to add to the eclectic mix of tunes emanating from Rogue Towers 24 / 7 / 365