Vancouver indie musician says more industry professionals needed in B.C.

B.C. government recently announced a $15 million grant to create a B.C. Music Fund

B.C. government recently announced a $15 million grant to create a B.C. Music Fund

Chersea performing during the Peak FM's Peak Performance Project in 2015. She was a top 12 finalist in the competition. (Christopher Edmonstone)

A Vancouver indie musician says she hopes the B.C. government's recently announced $15 million music grant will result in more industry infrastructure — such as labels, managers and studios — so that musicians will stay here rather than flocking to other cities.

"If you go to Toronto you've got Universal, you've got [independent rock station] Indie 88, you've got these massive supportive industry folk who want to support these independent artists," said Chelsea Laing, an indie pop musician who performs as Chersea.

"One of the biggest things that drives artists to other cities and other territories in the world is just the professionals in those areas."

B.C. music industry in serious decline: report

On Feb. 11, B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced a $15 million grant to help create a B.C. Music Fund, to be coordinated by Creative B.C.

Michael Buble joined premier Christy Clark at the launch of a new initiative to reinvigorate the music industry in B.C. (CBC/ Stephanie Mercier)

The announcement was accompanied by the release of the report B.C.'s Music Sector: From Adversity to Opportunity, which provided 26 recommendations to help grow the province's music industry — which the report said is in serious decline.

Laing said the new grant is "absolutely wonderful," and said she hopes it will help combat the challenges B.C. musicians face.

Money problems for musicians, fans

One of those major challenges is having enough people supporting musicians by coming to their shows, something she believes may be due to the economy and Vancouver's housing crisis.

"I can go to Toronto and Montreal and sell out gigs, whereas I play here and it's hard to meet half-capacity at times," she told host Stephen Quinn on The Early Edition.

"Ten dollars is an expense for the price of a ticket to the concert when you're struggling to meet ends with the groceries and everything else."

She said that struggle extends to the musicians themselves, many of whom are also working low-paying part-time jobs to supplement their music careers.

The recommendations in the report released this week by the province include creating incentives for artists to stay in, or move to B.C., the reduction of red tape around liquor licensing of venues and at festivals, as well as support for school-based music education.

Other recommendations include proper planning for new music venues when land use decisions are made, and the appointment of a municipal music officer to serve as a liaison between music businesses and city hall, and act as an advocate for music tourism.

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: Vancouver indie pop musician calls for more music infrastructure in B.C.


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