British Columbia

Kelowna band bringing back live music with mobile bus

After months of gig cancellations, a Kelowna band decided to take its show on the road and bought a bus. 

The band has slowly been turning the bus into a mobile venue complete with rooftop stage

The Carbons converted an accessibility bus into a travelling concert stage. (Dominika Lirette/CBC News)

After months of gig cancellations, a Kelowna band decided to take its show on the road and bought a bus. 

Tomy Thisdale and Paul Minor, members of The Carbons, say when pandemic restrictions cancelled their touring plans, they wanted to find a way to continue playing for people. 

The pair says that since they couldn't play shows, they instead resorted to writing and recording more music. Thisdale says after awhile they started to miss the face-to-face interaction that came with live music. 

Enter Carol the Carbon Bus — a decommissioned accessibility bus the band acquired and decided to turn into its own personal concert on wheels. 

"We've been pulling up to different neighbourhoods, just knocking on people's doors and trying to revive live music," Thisdale said in an interview for CBC's Daybreak South.

Drummer Paul Minor pictured playing in Carol the Carbon Bus. (Dominika Lirette/CBC News)

The band purchased the bus a few months ago and has slowly been turning it into a mobile venue with a rooftop stage. 

The bus, which originally had 24 seats, now has just four to make room for all its instruments and sound equipment. 

Door-to-door performances

Thisdale says it's fully equipped with stage lights, live sound system, solar panels and a new paint job.

He says the band mostly plays in and around the Okanagan region but, on request, would travel as far as Saskatchewan.

Thisdale says the band has found a thrill in playing door-to-door performances where it pops in to surprise people at their homes. 

"We just were knocking on doors and just asking people if they want to listen to music for like 10 minutes," Minor said. 

Minor says they are sometimes met with apprehension during the surprise visits, but after a couple songs they always seem to get them having a good time and dancing.

He says when the band first bought the van, they had no idea when they would be able to play live gigs again due to COVID-19 restrictions. They saw the van as an opportunity to do something different and spread a little cheer during an otherwise tough year. 

"We can still have a great summer and bring smiles to people and hopefully, you know, do some rock and roll healing." Minor said.

With files from Dominika Lirette

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