Closed Edmonton music venue The Needle Vinyl Tavern to re-open under new ownership

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Edmonton’s Needle Vinyl Tavern reopening under new management
WATCH ABOVE: Downtown Edmonton's Needle Vinyl Tavern shut its doors last year shortly after one of the owners was accused of sexual misconduct. Now, the music venue is being brought back to life under new management and a new name. Albert Delitala has the details – Jun 19, 2018

Seven months after sexual assault allegations forced the closure of The Needle Vinyl Tavern in downtown Edmonton, a new ownership team has announced plans to re-open the venue.

The Station on Jasper is seeking to become the “best mid-sized music venue in Western Canada” and is looking to leave the issues the previous venue had behind.

“You can develop any kind of policies you want, but it’s really how you act,” new owner Greg Scott told 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen. “So we’re really looking forward to building a team that can really be an industry leader.”

LISTEN BELOW: 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen speaks with Greg Scott

While the team is completely revamped, Scott said they’re not looking to hide from the sexual assault allegations that were made against previous co-owner James Leder.

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Leder was charged with one count of sexual assault in April after a woman came forward in the fall of 2017 and said she was groped by one of the owners. She said the incident happened in March 2017.

The woman’s name is now protected by a court-imposed publication ban.

Scott said the new management team will be partnering with the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, the YWCA and an HR firm to make sure The Station on Jasper is a safe place for employees, musicians and patrons.

“It’s really a brand new group with a brand new approach. If there’s anything positive that can come out of this, we develop a culture that can really sustain itself and make it a really safe and respectful place for people to work and visit and play at.”

When The Needle closed in the fall, it left dozens of people unemployed. While Scott said those people have since found new work, he has consulted them on changes that should be made going forward.

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One of the conversations was with the woman who made the allegations against Leder. Scott called it a frank and honest conversation that really shaped what his venue will do differently.

“It’s helped us prepare for how we want to train our staff.”

On top of changes to the attitude, The Station is looking to revamp the food and drink menu and has brought in executive chef Michael Darby from Seattle to develop a brand new menu.

“It’s still going to be comfort food,” Scott said. “It’s a music venue and it’s got to be comfort food that people can enjoy on a night out while watching some music.”

The Station on Jasper is opening at the end of June.
The Station on Jasper is opening at the end of June. Dustin Coffman/630 CHED

The group will also be partnering with the Sarah McLachlan School of Music to allow up-and-coming artists the chance to perform in a happy hour program every Tuesday.

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“We’re looking to let them have exposure to audiences, maybe get some of them their first paid gig so some of them can get out there,” Scott said.

The Station will re-open on Friday, June 29 and has announced Serena Ryder will headline their opening weekend on Saturday, July 30.

“We wanted an iconic Canadian act to help us open the space and we know Serena is going to make it a special night for Edmontonians,” Mark Chisholm, one of the managers of The Station, said in a news release.

“We can’t wait to feel the energy of the room and have great live music back on Jasper Avenue.”

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on June 20.

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