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  • Writer's pictureMidtown Radio

We Play Local Music

Updated: Apr 24

You can now hear local music playlists in some of your favourite venues! It's all part of Midtown Radio's #LOCALAF campaign (Local Artists Featured!).

AOK Beer + Arcade, Counterpoint Brewing Co,. and TWB Brewing have all joined forces with Midtown Radio to get more local music into local spaces. Each venue has bespoke local music playlists on rotation. So, if you are a local music enthusiast (or a local musician!), listen carefully the next time you are at one of these participating locations. You might just hear a song you recognize!

Are you a local business interested in getting your very own local music playlist? Get in touch!

We asked the venues about their playlists, their love of all things local, and how they are supporting local music. Here are their responses!

Name: Cara Watson 

Job Role: Manager/ Events Coordinator  at AOK Beer + Arcade


Why does AOK have such a strong community focus?  

AOK's business model has always been to cultivate a space where people can form meaningful connections - whether that's over games and beer, or awesome local music, art, crafts, performances, and more! The goal is and has always been to be a vibrant, supportive, safe community space that celebrates local talent and diversity and it absolutely helps that the two owners of AOK, Dani and Steve, really embrace that love of living local and are active in the day to day discussions about using this space not only as a bar but also as a way to support this incredible community.  


How is the space being leveraged for live music?

We've been lucky enough to have a handful of shows/ local talent at the bar in the last couple of years. AOK has a great 'stage' area with the way the upper landing is such a focal point, but as a smaller venue, space is always a constraint. We are able to run smaller, more intimate shows here and would love to find a way to do more! Partnering with Midtown has also been an awesome way to bring local music into our space.  


What are your plans for the summer in terms of supporting the local music scene?  Aside from playing one of the excellent playlists Midtown has curated for us? To be honest, summer is a difficult time for programming, but we've gotten creative. We've got a few events and partnerships we're working on that I'll keep under wraps for the moment but... coming soon :) 


Why did you decide to get a local music playlist? 

It was very much a no-brainer for us. We love local, we want to support it in every way we can. It helps that Midtown Radio is super rad and curated something specifically for the vibe we were looking for. 

Name: Graeme Kobayashi 

Job Role: Owner, Counterpoint Brewing Co 

Why does Counterpoint have such a strong community focus?

I believe that those who are involved in their communities help them grow, and it's incredibly rewarding to be a part of something like that. I'm grateful for the opportunity to put Counterpoint to work by supporting the efforts of those who are already making waves.There's no way to know for sure, but I'm hoping that when more of us work together to achieve the goal, change will happen faster. For us, community is more than just a physical space, such as a neighbourhood or city to which we belong; it also includes our virtual connections with individuals or organizations who share our interests and goals. Building a community requires effort, but where would we be without it? 


How is the space being leveraged for live music?   

Many of us enjoy listening to live music and supporting local artists, so I decided to start the Tiny Taproom Concert Series. This project aims to do two things: The first goal is to provide the artist with an intimate setting and a captive audience while paying them fairly. The second goal is to provide the audience with a unique musical experience while also allowing them to support incredible artists.  

Ticket revenue is used to pay the artist and have the concert professionally recorded, which is then shared with the artist and published for all to see, allowing everyone to appreciate the talent. It's a fantastic experience, and I've enjoyed every show. 


What are the challenges that you see for musicians and venues in the local music scene?

Through recent inquiries from musicians, I've discovered a gap in the number of small venues where musicians can create their own experiences for their fans without being burdened by the need to fill a hundred seats to make it worthwhile. So I've made our space available for musicians to rent at a reasonable rate, on the condition that the shows are well promoted and our code of conduct is adhered to.  


Despite the outpouring of support, one of the challenges is dealing with those who expect free live music in bars or venues like Counterpoint. However, a simple explanation is generally well received and has even resulted in ticket sales! Another is coordinating all of the moving parts to ensure that the event runs smoothly, from promotion to post-production. There is a lot more to these events than I originally thought!  


What are your plans for the summer in terms of supporting the local music scene? 

This summer, we plan to host a Tiny Taproom Concert, and are already booked by a couple of musicians to perform their own shows here. Despite all the larger events and festivals around the city, it's shaping up to be a busy summer for us and our talented friends. 


Why did you decide to get a local music playlist?  

When Midtown Radio approached me with the opportunity to curate a playlist for Counterpoint, I was thrilled! The decision was obvious. With a focus on local and a few bigger names, it's the ideal way to enjoy some of the local tunes I already listen to while also discovering new gems that I wish I had known about!  


How have people reacted to being able to hear local music at their local hangout? 

Not surprisingly, people have been digging it. One of the featured artist's family members was overjoyed to hear us playing the music and grateful that we had a large selection of local tunes. Others have inquired about an artist or song being played and are thrilled that they can find the artist in town, and that it is being played in popular locations throughout town by those who are also involved in the local music playlist project! 

Name: Amanda Farquhar

Job Role: Media & Marketing Manager at Together We're Bitter Co-operative Brewing

Why does TWB have such a strong community focus?

We’re a little bit different, we are a co-op, which means that all of the people who own the business actually work here, whether it’s full-time or part-time. To become an owner, you do have to make a time commitment and an investment, but it really does help build a sense of community. And one of the great things about us being a co-op is that there’s always someone to help out. We have a really great team with a really great variety of skills. 

How is the space being leveraged for live music?

We have such a wealth of talented musicians in this community, I am constantly astounded, actually, by the talent that we have around here. One of our focuses as a business is to support local in all aspects, whether it’s other vendors that we’re selling their products, or in the case of local music, supporting local music and local musicians, because they are a part of our community and it helps building community.  

We have a summer music series that starts at the end of May where every Friday night we’ll be featuring a different musician on the patio. We have also been running our Back of the Brewhouse concerts series. It’s indoors, it’s very intimate. It’s a ticketed event unlike our outdoor music series, and it’s been a really great opportintity for us to feature some talent musicians who maybe don’t always get the attention that they deserve. So we’ve just had Brent Haggerman and the Passive resistors and we have a show coming up with I, the Mountain which has already sold out.  

Why did you decide to get a local music playlist? 

We have so much talent in this community, and these musicians don’t get the attention that they desreve, so we thought that partnering with Midtown on this was a really great opportunity for us to continue to support local. So when midtown reached out and suggested this as a project, we jumped on board right away, because it’s so fun to hear the musicians playing over speakers in the brewery that we have had performing on the patio in the summer or back of the brewhouse.  

Is there anyone on your playlist that you hope to get playing on your patio?

Alysha Brilla. I’d also love to have Mandipal come and play on the patio.  



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