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Up + Downtown Festival October 2016

For its third official year, one of Edmontons newest music festivals- Up + Downtown- is pulling out all of the stops. Co-created in 2012 by Executive Director Jason Flammia, the festivals main objective is to offer a fun musical adventure outside of the summer months. Always a three day celebration during the Thanksgiving long weekend, expect solid performances from Basia Bulat, The Sadies, Expire, Meisha and the Spanks, L.A. Foster, Mercy Funk, Big Wild and so much more! Each year the diverse line up attracts a crowd of the same uniqueness while showcasing some of our citys best music venues and even creates pop up venues in unexpected spaces.


The Needle Vinyl Tavern is so excited to be taking part in this festival for our first time this Thanksgiving weekend with four truly amazing shows.


Each day of the festival is equally eclectic, beginning with an Indie music lovers dream on Friday night. Local favourites Faith Healer and Mitchmatic will open up the night with ethereal soundscapes and funky hip hop. Moving across the prairies, Winnipegs Royal Canoe hit the stage next with an exceptional live show and quirky indie pop. Close Talker are a talented bunch: romantic, tight knit instrumentals straight outta the Paris of the prairies, Saskatoon. Finally, from the booming metropolis of Akron, Ohio, If These Trees Could Talk. Expect lush instrumentals fit for even the most skeptical of musical perfectionists.


Saturday is going to be nuts in here! Weve been working hard to cater to music lovers of all ages and it just so happens our afternoon show will do just that! Local heroes, The Den, along with Born Ruffians and (holy cow!) Tokyo Police Club will be open to all ages to enjoy. With the help of our friends at Sonic 102.9, well be hosting what will be one of the funnest indie sing alongs, probably ever.


Saturday evening were going full on girl power with a line up Not Enough Fest would be proud of! Well, hopefully. They are helping us put on this fire show! Without a doubt some of the most badass people are playing this show including the obviously amazing Wares. Cassia Hardy had a 7release in March at the Needle and blew us all away with her raw, engaging talent. If you havent seen her shred, the time is definitely now. Labour are radical, funny people who only continue to blow us away with their performance. Every. Time. Banshee are a deliciously gritty, powerful trio. Hold on to your hats when you hear Jackies vocals! She rips! Long time sweethearts of the Edmonton music circuit, Switches, have perfected the saucy, bratty sound punk is known for. Past performances may have included shotgunning contests, so come prepared. Rounding out the night, White Lung are ready to rip your earholes a new one! About a decade old, Vancouvers punk/noise darlings recently released a new record, Paradise, which a wild, 10 song sonic exploration. Mish Way-Barbers vocals are something to behold; think Heart meets Sonic Youth!


The final night of the fest will go out with a folk-rock bang! If you havent heard of Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, you may have been living under a rock? Fitzgerald has been breaking hearts with his soulful sound for years. Most recently, he donated his unused wedding bands to a lucky couple after sifting through hundreds of love stories and finally choosing the ultimate winner. He has a huge heart with a stage presence to match. Opening the show are local heart breakers and movers and shakers: Altameda (bluesy country music with a rock edge), The McGowan Family Band (easy, sweet folk music), Jody Shenkarek (easily one of the biggest sweethearts in the city with a kickass voice) and regular heartthrob at the Needle Vinyl Tavern, Mohsin Zaman (soulful, romantic music that usually makes us cry).

To attend these shows and more, please consider picking up a wristband to Up + Dt festival at Blackbyrd Myoozik or online at Single ticket shows are up for grabs as well with more info on the same website.


The festival is also accepting volunteers! If you want to be part of this fun event, please check out the website and chat with the Volunteer Director, Diana Bier!


See you this weekend, friends!  


New music venues to check out in 2016

The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
We’ll have to wait a little bit longer for this one since its opening date isn’t until March, but its co-owner, James Leder, says “The Needle Vinyl Tavern integrates live music and food to create a unique atmosphere that allows people to socialize in the presence of art.” This means lunch, dinner and weekend brunch and live music seven nights a week, plus a space for DJs and visual artists. In the meantime, you can sign up for the Needle’s newsletter to stay up to date on all the latest happenings.

January 7, 2016 by Meaghan Baxter

The Needle Vinyl Tavern to open in 2015

Owners of a new venue want to inject more live music into downtown Edmonton.

The Needle Vinyl Tavern, with an expected capacity of 400-plus people, will be situated in the former CKUA building at 10526 Jasper Avenue.

The venue has a target opening of next spring, after renovations are finished to the 100-year-old location, also known as the Alberta Block. Programming details are still being worked out, but fans can expect live music every night of the week — from singer-songwriters to vinyl-spinning DJs.

Rob Campbell, a financial advisor and one of the owners of The Needle/Alberta Block, unveiled the plans at a small gathering on Monday night.

“We really need a home for the music scene in Edmonton, for the players — for the supporters, for those who simply love a great show,” he said.  “Like the Horseshoe or the Dakota in Toronto, the Commodore in Vancouver, the Black Sheep Inn (near) Ottawa, (we need) a place that music fans in Edmonton know to go to on a

Wednesday night because the music will be great. … A place where independent musicians from all over Canada know and love and want to play, their home away from home.”
Campbell’s partners include fellow adviser Neil Bosch and musician/producer James Leder, who used to run The Haven Social Club on Stony Plain Road.

The Needle, which will take up most of the main floor of the Alberta Block, will also feature a kitchen and a music-themed menu. (The majority of the other five floors will be leased as office space.)

“We think this is the perfect home for The Needle, not only because of the great location, but also because of the history that building brings and how integral it’s been to the Edmonton music scene for so many years,” said Campbell. “In fact, a portion of The Needle will occupy what was the old CD and vinyl libraries of CKUA. The rooms just ooze with karma and music and culture.”

He hopes the venue will be “a bit of an homage” to the original Sidetrack Cafe on 112th Street, which closed its doors in 2006 to make way for condos.

Over the last two years, Edmonton has seen its share of venue closures — including The Haven Social Club, Edmonton Event Centre in West Edmonton Mall and The Elevation Room (on Jasper Avenue). The owners of Wunderbar, a beloved spot on Whyte Avenue, also recently announced their 84-seat bar is up for sale.