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One of North Okanagan’s best-known venues closing after 24 years

Click to play video: 'Lorenzo’s Café closes after 24 years of live music in the North Okanagan' Lorenzo’s Café closes after 24 years of live music in the North Okanagan
After more than 1,000 shows over the past 24 years, Lorenzo’s Café will be turning off its lights at the end of October. – Oct 14, 2019

After more than two decades in operation, Lorne Costley’s dream of bringing the “best of the city to the country” is coming to an end.

The entrepreneur who ran Lorenzo’s Cafe, one of the North Okanagan’s best-known venues for 24 years, is closing the business.

The last show will be a Halloween party on Oct. 26 featuring 10-piece Vernon band the Legendary Lake Monsters.

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The venue is a legend in its own right, attracting, as Costley describes it, “award-winning musicians from around the world” to his rural property near Enderby.

However, the unique rural setting has also made it more challenging for Lorenzo’s to attract audiences.

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Click to play video: 'Okanagan venues host tour to attract new acts' Okanagan venues host tour to attract new acts
Okanagan venues host tour to attract new acts – Aug 21, 2019

Costley said while patrons have come from as far away as Washington State and the Lower Mainland for concerts and shows in the summer, it’s been hard to maintain consistent audiences in the off-season.

“A lot of times I will get an eight-piece band from Winnipeg with six people in the audience,” he said.

The former Vancouverite says he loves living in the Enderby area and set up the venue to fulfill a need he saw there: to provide live music in a social setting with great acoustics.

“It’s (still) just as unavailable here. When I’m closed there is going to be fewer options that are going to supply the ambiance, the music and the atmosphere that we have here,” Costley said.

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“That is what I did it for in first place and I’m going to miss that when it is gone.”

Costley said closing the business will also be a relief of sorts that will let him attend festivals he’s had to miss over the years because he was “married to Lorenzo’s.”

The venue operator has tried unsuccessfully to sell the business for four years. Costley is still open to offers or proposals to use the building for something else.

He believes the space is also well suited to become a professional office, artist gallery or studio for dance or yoga.

The venue is housed in an old schoolhouse that Costley has added onto. The original building dates back to 1919.

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“It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve learned a lot in this old school,” he said.

Lorne said after the business closes he is planning to travel and spend more time woodworking.

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