October 8, 2013 8:26 pm

Winnipeg-based band has gear stolen while playing in Vancouver

With Blake Thomson, Kemper Profiler, James Mckee, Jolene Higgins and Eric Lemoine.

With Blake Thomson, Kemper Profiler, James Mckee, Jolene Higgins and Eric Lemoine.


Jolene Higgins loved playing a gig in Vancouver last Friday. Known as Little Miss Higgins, Jolene was playing with her band the Winnipeg Five at the St James Hall through the Rogue Folk Club, and it was a success.

However, Jolene did not love what happened later that night.

The band was staying at the Quality Hotel on Howe Street near Granville Street, but because the hotel does not have any secure parking Jolene backed their van and trailer up against a post in front of the building.

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“They let us park in the drive-thru area,” she told Global News. All the band’s gear, except for one guitar, was inside.

However, at some point overnight someone, or some people, broke in and stole three guitars, an amp and a banjo.

“We were only in the hotel for under eight hours,” said Jolene.

Turns out, Vancouver seems to have a bit of a bad reputation in the music community when it comes to keeping gear safe. “I’ve been warned many times by friends and other musicians ‘don’t leave your stuff in the car in Vancouver’,” she said. She thought locking up the trailer and backing it up against the post would be enough to keep it safe.

One of the guitars, a vintage Kay, has turned up after some other musicians saw a person riding a bike with a guitar strapped to his back. Jolene said they stopped the man, bought the guitar for $40, and then sold it again to someone at The Railway Club. He knew the guitar had to belong to someone, so he put out a message on Facebook and Jolene was alerted someone had found her vintage Kay.

“I really love that guitar,” she said. “I’ve been playing it for 10 years.”

But the rest of the gear is still missing.

The band is continuing its tour across Canada but had to stop and rent some new equipment.

Jolene is hoping someone will see their gear online or in a pawn shop and contact them so they can get it back.

“It’s just horrible,” she said. “And especially because they’re the instruments we use to make a living. It’s heartbreaking.”

GALLERY: See the instruments with descriptions and serial numbers.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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