Summer Nightlife Picking Up

It began when Chris Scerri invited friends from out of town to see Holly Cole at Meaford Hall.  After enjoying the concert they went out for some drinks afterward, only to find that Sykes Street was deserted and there was no place in downtown Meaford that was open.  To Chris that made no sense.

"The Great Canadian Songbook" at Meaford Hall

“The Great Canadian Songbook” rocked Meaford Hall this spring, including locals Chris Scerri and Drew McIvor (photo by Marissa Dolotallas)

A few months ago, a show played at Meaford Hall that was called “The Great Canadian Songbook”.  It had been put together by Johnny Max and Tom Barlow with musical director Tyler Yarema and brought to Meaford by Chris Scerri.  Featuring accomplished musicians, it was a rocking show that had the crowd dancing in the aisles.  When the show ended, much of the crowd and most of the performers streamed across the street to where The Leeky Canoe was still open, with James McLaughlin performing.  As the room filled a new energy took over and soon musicians from the Meaford Hall show were taking turns on stage.  It was a first taste of what a night in Meaford could be after a big concert.

Chris had made special arrangements with the Leeky’s owners, Sean and Michelle, to stay open that night and it paid off.  So he did it again when Jeff Martin came to play on a night that coincided with the Tuesday open mic.  Last week when Downchild played Meaford Hall on a Thursday and the second in the Meaford Concert Series happened on Friday in Market Square, The Leeky presented live music for three nights in a row, after both of those shows plus its usual live entertainment on Saturday.  On all three night the place was packed with music lovers who had whetted their appetites on the day’s earlier entertainment.  Meaford was beginning to see a bit of nightlife where silence had reigned before.

Chuck, Donny and Pat from Downchild join Pete Devlin and Tyler Yarema at The Leeky Canoe

Chuck, Donny and Pat from Downchild join Pete Devlin and Tyler Yarema at The Leeky Canoe (photo by Marissa Dolotallas)

Now The Leeky Canoe has booked live entertainment to follow every (sold out) Terrace Thursday at Meaford Hall and after each of the remaining concerts in the Meaford Summer Concert Series scheduled at the Market Square.  The expanded entertainment policy is paying off for The Leeky and for music fans in Meaford.  This summer the downtown is experiencing the new beginnings of a night life.

Every concert at Meaford Hall attracts hundreds of music fans, and many of them would happily carry on after the concert if there were places to welcome them.  There are several other venues in the downtown area that serve food and drinks to the public, from coffee shops to fine dining.  Each could improve their business by extending their hours and adding live music.  If Meaford became known as a music centre at the bottom of Georgian Bay, with a nightlife that mixed good entertainment with a variety of hospitality options, all retailers would benefit from the influx of both locals and tourists.

Carrie at Captains Corner sees the advantage and she is presenting live music twice a week on the patio, on Wednesdays with an open mic, and on Saturdays with booked entertainment.  She has been careful to schedule these presentations early in the evening so that they compliment rather than compete with other venues offering live music in Meaford.

Tonight, Thursday July 28th, The Leeky Canoe is continuing its expanded music policy with a show by Jaret Coop starting at 9:30, following Luke Martin’s sold out performance at Terrace Thursdays.

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