April 2, 2018 5:14 pm

Crowdfunding campaign strives to bring more live music to Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: If three local businessmen get their way, Edmonton will see a new live music venue open in the city. But they need some help to make it happen. Jennifer Crosby sits down with Mark Bellows, Ryan Brodziak and Steve Derpack to learn more about the crowdfunding campaign and vision for the venue.


A group of local businessmen is launching a 45-day fundraising drive to bring a new live music venue to Edmonton but they need your support to make it happen.

“There needs to be a starting point for local and touring artists alike,” partner Steve Derpack says.

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Derpack, Mark Bellows, Ryan Brodziak and a silent investor are spearheading a campaign to build Marvins Garden, a 150-seat venue in the up-and-coming Holland Plaza development. Bellows and Brodziak already operate The Local Omnivore  in that same development.

A crowdfunding campaign is aiming to raise $190,000. Backers are eligible for everything from lifetime VIP passes and a custom artwork inspired by your favourite band, to signed artist posters.

“Together, I’m sure we can get this venue off the ground,” Bellows says.

In recent years, Edmonton has lost several live venues. The Needle Vinyl Tavern closed in November amid allegations of sexual harassment. That closure was preceded by others at The Artery, The Pawnshop and Wunderbar.

READ MORE: Edmonton arts venue forced to close its doors

The partners say there is a need for arts and culture spaces in the city, a hub to give a home to developing talent and support the local music scene.

Marvins Garden would be a space not only for live music but also for other kinds of performances.

“We’re trying to build a room that is very adaptable so that everybody has a way to make it their home and make it the way that they want express themselves, in each particular medium,” Brodziak says.

READ MORE: Needle Vinyl Tavern sees bookings cancel as it reviews sexual harassment allegations

“There’s a need to have arts and culture spaces in general on the small side — incubators — so people have a chance to go to an affordable venue,” adds Derpack, a concert promoter with more than 20 years of experience in live music.

“Not everybody can walk in and rent the Winspear.”

WATCH: Music critic weighs in on impact of The Needle Vinyl Tavern’s closure

Bellows and Brodziak designed and built The Local Omnivore and plan to lend those talents to constructing the new space in a cost-effective way. The venue would also be available for other events and rentals like weddings and workshops.

As for the name Marvins Garden, it’s in part a nod to the building’s former tenants, the Marv Holland Apparel company. The campaign is holding a launch party on April 4.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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