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Victoria company offers helping hand to live arts with free postering campaign

Click to play video: 'Victoria company aims to give artists a hand up' Victoria company aims to give artists a hand up
For 20 years, Metropol in Victoria built its business helping artists promote their live shows. But when the pandemic hit, concerts ended and that part of the business disappeared. Now with restrictions lifting, the company is helping artists get back on their feet, putting up posters for upcoming concerts for free. Kylie Stanton reports. – Jul 23, 2021

As pandemic restrictions ease in British Columbia, artists and musicians are beginning to hit the stage again.

“Everyone misses the excitement of a live stage, we’re really excited to get back,” said Morgan Brooker, who manages musicians in Victoria.

“We’ve done some smaller shows, we’ve done some live streams, but it’s not that feeling you have with the connection of a big crowd.”

Read more: Weekly survey: Are you ready to go back to live concerts?

While artists are keen for that live rush again, getting back on the stage isn’t always easy. Eighteen months of cancelled shows has put a big hole in the budgets of small performers.

Now one Victoria printing company is stepping up to help the struggling arts industry get back onto its feet.

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COVID-19 struggles: pandemic strikes sour note for working musicians – Dec 5, 2020

Metropol Industries CEO Steve Webb said the company built its success over two decades in large part through promoting upcoming concerts and shows in the capital region.

Now its offering to print and post those same posters for free as live events gear back up.

“The idea that bubbled up was, are we able to provide this as a community service, to these people, these arts groups, these business that have been with us for 19 years, that grew with us and supported us,” Webb said.

Read more: COVID-19 taking heavy toll on B.C.’s working musicians

Webb said having posters printed and posted around the city would usually cost an event a few hundred dollars.

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That’s money he says can now stay in the pockets of artists, venues and others working in the hard-hit industry.

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“How many of those people would have called us and paid for postering? I’d say maybe 15 per cent,” he said.

“Just given what the costs are right now. We’re dealing with venues that have decreased capacity, we’re dealing with people out there who might be uncomfortable going out to these types of events.”

Read more: COVID-19: B.C. businesses gear up as pandemic restrictions relaxed

He said despite government grants, 2020 and 2021 have been lean years for artists, and even a small break like this will help them get back on their feet.

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“Doing this whole thing to reinvigorate the music industry and do free postering is amazing,” he said.

“And just me as a music fan, walking around downtown and seeing that there’s posters up and new music that I may not have heard about on Facebook or anything, it’s fantastic.”

Webb said about 40 local acts have taken the business up on its postering offer.

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