Reason #9 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

The Vibrant Music Scene

by emil tiedemann

IF you’re not a music fan, then I don’t think we can be friends. It’s as simple as that. No, for real! Just kidding! But seriously, if you don’t like music, then something is probably wrong with you. 
Local musician Josh Williams performing at the City Market downtown.

Anyways, if you do like music, however, then you’re in the right town! Sure, we’re no Nashville or Austin or even Toronto, but we know good music and we have plenty of it. Edmonton’s music scene is bustling with talented musicians, bands, songwriters, singers, and producers making some pretty damn good sounds. 

From the traditional roots of our very own Corb Lund & the Hurtin’ Albertans to the contemporary pop stylings of Edmonton-born k.d. lang, and just about everything imaginable in between, we’ve got your cup of tea! There are plenty of pubs, clubs, lounges, bars, cafes, eateries, patios, parking lots, basements, rooftops (& one trolley) with stages - some makeshift - offering up local talent in probably any genre or sub-genre you can think of. 
Edmonton rapper and producer The Joe (Joe Gurba).

And although we’ve lost some of our most revered music venues over the years (Artery, Pawn Shop, Sidetrack Cafe), Edmonton’s music fans are not too worried. Others have taken their place or at least plan to, and there are a number of current spots that are worth bragging about (Starlite Room, Needle Vinyl Tavern, Mercury Room). 

Oh, and then there are dedicated folks like Thom Bennett, a local jazz musician behind the Edmonton Live Music Initiative, a partnership between Alberta Music, the City of Edmonton, and the Edmonton Arts Council. The ELM is Bennett’s way of provoking growth within Edmonton’s music scene by working with other local music enthusiasts to make it easier for venues to operate, and thus fostering a future for Edmonton’s musicians. Their plan is to amend zoning and licensing rules, provide financial incentives, and perhaps even establish an actual live music district similar to that of Sixth Street in Austin. 
The Needle Vinyl Tavern on Jasper Avenue in downtown Edmonton.

And don’t even get me started on the music festivals! Okay, since we’re on the subject, Edmonton boasts a number of world-class events that shows off not just our local talent, but also music on a national and international level. The Edmonton Folk Festival comes to mind first, but there’s also the Rock Music Festival, Kiwanis, International Jazz Fest, Blues Fest, SONiC BOOM, Symphony Under the Sky, NUOVA, Reggae Fest, Heart of the City, Summer Solstice, Seven Music Fest, and the nearby Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose. 

Like I said before, we’re no Nashville or Austin, but I like to think that we’re not so far off! #yegmusic


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