Singer Deanna Knight has taken the expression “build it and they will come” to heart and created a backyard performance venue at her Gibsons-area B&B that has for the last few years been the setting for occasional small-scale concerts. And now, with theatres on the Sunshine Coast still shuttered and the pub-music scene mostly on hold, Knight is stepping up her game, producing a series of seven Sunday afternoon performances by various artists through July and August.
“The stage here is just so beautiful,” Knight told Coast Reporter. “The first year we did two [concerts] and then last year we did four. I know so many talented people and everybody’s out of gigs [due to the pandemic] and it just kind of spiralled into, “OK, I guess we’re doing every Sunday.’”
The Sweet Sundays Acoustic Concert Series starts July 5 at her Secret Beach B&B Suites and is scheduled to run through Aug. 23 with local performers such as Michael Friedman, Budge Schachte and Karen Graves, and Lower Mainland-based acts like The Burying Ground, Reid Jamieson, Oliver Swain, and Knight’s own frequent musical partners, The Hot Club of Mars.
“I will do a mini opening set for each of these performances, but everybody who’s coming are friends and we often end up doing some sort of collaboration on a song or two, or they go in my little mini-set or vice versa,” said Knight.
Current health regulations would allow as many as 50 people to attend, and Knight believes she could have fit 90 people in comfortably in pre-COVID-19 times. But she plans to limit attendance to a ticketed audience of about 30.
“I figured that would be easy to do with social distancing, and everybody will feel safe,” Knight said. “One concern I have is that when people spend money on a ticket, I want them to come and feel comfortable.” Ticket prices will range from $30 for individuals to $20 each for those who come in a “pod” of as many as five people who, like a family living together, feel safe in close physical contact.
Knight said there will be online viewing opportunities, too, possibly via Facebook – “with a tip jar” to help collect more money for the performers. But it’s more likely she’ll opt for the pay-as-you-go online app called Side Door.
“[Vancouver musician] Dan Mangan and a friend set up Side Door and have been working on it for several years. It’s become quite popular. Several festivals are going to use it as a platform.”
A schedule of performances is on Facebook at the Sweet Sundays page. All tickets must be bought in advance for the 2 to 5 p.m. shows. You can get more information at 604-362-1280 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.