Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Medicine Hat Music Scene

One thing that has always seemed to be lacking in Medicine Hat is good live music.  Ok, maybe it's not that it's lacking, it's that no one seems to know when and where people are performing.  Trying to keep on top of the local music scene could very possibly be a full-time job.  There doesn't seem to be one local clearinghouse for all the upcoming events and/or bands coming through the city.  If you don't know where to look, you could miss out on your next favourite artist.

My taste runs to singer/songwriter indie folk music and I was fortunate enough to attend the Zaac Pick & JJ Shiplett concert at Inspire Cafe on Tuesday night.  In case you didn't know, Zaac Pick is originally from Medicine Hat.  His music was fantastic, as was JJ's.  Hopefully they will both be performing again sometime soon in the Hat.  I only found out about this event because I get an email newsletter from Maureen Newton who operates Inspire Cafe, which told about the event.

It sometimes feels like Canadian bands drive right through Medicine Hat from Regina to Lethbridge or Calgary without even considering stopping. Case in point, Hey Ocean! is performing in a 100 seat pizza place in Lethbridge on October 31 during their cross Canada tour.  I'm sure we could've filled 100 seats with Hey Ocean! fans here in Medicine Hat, couldn't we have?

I would love it if Dan Mangan, Kathleen Edwards, Mother Mother or Hey Ocean! would stop in Medicine Hat on their next Canadian tours before they become so huge that they won't even consider our smaller venues.

Another thing that I've noticed is that some local organizations use Twitter or Facebook to advertise their upcoming events, but if you aren't using that form of social media, you won't know about the event.  Some events can be found by using the links on the right side of this blog under the "Medicine Hat Links", but for the sake of keeping everything together in one place, I'll list them here as well.

The Esplanade Theatre
Medicine Hat Folk Music Club
3rd ST effort
Medicine Hat Live Indy Music (Facebook group)
Medicine Hat's Singer Songwriter Night (Facebook page)
Inspire Cafe
Whiskey Creek Pub (Facebook page)
As well as the Medicine Hat Media, Hatlife, Tourism Medicine Hat and Around Town Newsletter sites.

UPDATE - The Medicine Hat News has a calendar midway down on the left hand side of their website that gives information about local events and shows.

Please, please, please, if you know of any other websites that list upcoming concerts/events let me know and I'll add it here.


  1. No offence, but maybe instead of looking to support main stream music artists from Canada, and missing out on them, which I find kind of hard to believe as I have never missed out on who is in the Hat; I just didn't care to see them, you should pay more attention in supporting Local Artists. Local artists can be found at The Royal every weekend, and even though you may think the royal is not exactly the most gratifying place to be on a friday or saturday night, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover because it is a wonderful bar and the musicians who rock their way through there are fantastic! Inspire cafe, as far as I know has acoustic nights, Local pub and eatery, My office pub, the silver buckle, the mainliner, the Hylton out in redcliff, these are all bars and pubs that support Local acts. I'm assuming you have facebook, and that you travel around Medicine Hat by vehicle at some point each day. I know I do on both, and there are bill boards all over town that say what band is playing where, and most of these pubs have facebook pages where they announce events. Also, if you know the names of local talents you can search their pages on facebook, all local acts update the people who fan their page when their shows are. Now as for missing out on mainstream bands, you can always sign up to ticket master, pick out your fav bands and set up your acount to tell you when artists will be in the area, when it comes to Medicine hat and Mainstream, our city is just starting to hit the maps for tours, Most times if they are in Calgary or lethbridge they will pick a night around the main show to "practice" in the Hat. So I suggest again, if you know of a show in clagary or lethbridge, more than likely, they will be hitting the hat on an off schedule stop. Which in this case, is why you never recieve enough notice. In this case that is not the media or cities fault, it's last minute, and those who have friends in the scene or near it get lucky.

    1. All music is important and all should be supported. This includes the venues as well. Even though a venue doesn't typically showcase the music genre that you enjoy or that you and/or your band is affiliated with, they need to be supported. There's a reason why in Canada: Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are known for their music scenes. It's because they supported each other and built the scene up. (similar to Seattle's Grunge Scene, and England's Rock Scene)

      In smaller music scenes today, the bands tend to compete with each other, fighting for venues to play at (and overplaying them), and putting the other bands down, eventually causing the bands to burn out, disband, and in some cases, relocate to one of the larger cities. This isn't right.

      Yes, local music NEEDS to be supported, and it is for the most part, with a few local venues showcasing that talent. I agree and encourage touring acts (big and small) to select a local act to step on to the bill with them to increase the overall draw of that bill and also to put the local act in the eyes of the community.

      In Calgary, we started up the Calgary Rock & Roll Club and it's a networking/collaboration initiative for musicians of all genres to gather and share contacts, experiences, and information, to meet other bands within the scene, and ultimately, to grow and strengthen the local music scene.

      I have been trying to book my band in Medicine Hat for almost 4 years, but finding a venue has been tough. Thank you for the lead on The Royal, hopefully we'll see you down there when we are in town.

  2. Great post, Alison Wonderland. Even now when it's over half a year old, it still holds water (pun intended).

    We should be able to attract Canadian artists for all across Canada to come play here, and not just at the Esplanade (though it is probably our finest music venue). Your links to local groups / venues were great, and Hey Ocean! (and Shad) are welcome here anytime in my books.

    Inspire Cafe has done so much to improve and highlight the local music scene, especially for such an intimate venue. It was also great to see a number of local musicians included in Jazzfest 2013 as well, as that's something I've heard people complain about in years prior.

    It's great that there's a lot of support for local groups like Mahoney and Taking August and the Medicine Hat Folk Music Club. I think that these groups have paid their dues through promotion and networking and likely deserve every inch of success they're getting.

    I think it's time for other musicians / artists (like myself) to step it up if we want to be recognized for our talents and abilities as well. It's time for us to decide to give it our best efforts instead of our best reasons not to participate or "hate-on" others.

    Andrew Plait

  3. I know this post is quite old but the problem of finding good live music in Medicine Hat still remains :( 3 St Effort hasnt updated their page in a long time and the Med Hat Indy Music fb page is a spammy mess... Too bad, I would love to see all the bands you mentioned in your post...

    1. I'm booking a Toronto melodic punk rock band that will be touring Canada in September, and we are looking to play Medicine Hat. Any suggestions on current venues that would be open to us booking a show?

      Please feel free to email me here: booking {at} broomfiller {dot} com kindly include this message in the reply, so i can decipher what it's referring to!! Many thanks!! Danny.

  4. Pick up a drum on January 20 and be apart of creating the music.