Add yet another feather to the over-flowing cap worn by The Bailey.
Monday night’s performance by Burton Cummings, coming on the heels of shows by singer John McDermott and the legendary Downchild Blues Band, illustrates just how much the local theatre, formerly known as the Charles Bailey Theatre, has grown as a music venue.
Cummings was part of one of Canada’s premier rock bands in the 1960s and ’70s and there he was on the stage in Trail serenading the crowd with classics hits and speaking glowingly of his reception in the Silver City.
He’s not the first star to do that.
You can go from Bryan Adams to Colin James to Tom Cochrane and many more in between to find that Trail is becoming a stop for many artists looking to play smaller, intimate venues in front of an appreciative audience.
To me, Bryan Adams’ performance a couple of years ago in particular was a signal that The Bailey was getting some seriously big names to come to the venue.
Anyone who stood in line to get tickets that cool December day, knew that this was a big deal for our small town. Adams, of course, didn’t disappoint and The Bailey hasn’t slowed down since.
I can list performances like City and Colour, Theory of a Deadman to the upcoming Barenaked Ladies concert as reasons The Bailey is becoming a go-to venue for music lovers across the West Kootenay.
The Bailey’s foyer is plastered with posters reminding us of all the great performers who have graced its stage but, to me, there’s an added energy coming out of the venue in the last few years.
You can see it in the crowds, that are mixed with residents from Rossland to Castlegar to Nelson and beyond.
The attendance alone, with most shows sold out or near sellouts, reinforces the theory that if you get a good performer to come to Trail, the people will respond with their support.
You can see it downtown on the night of a show with the parking spots clogged with vehicles and local bars and restaurants doing a brisk business.
This is the spin-off from the efforts from staff at The Bailey. Their hard work and perseverance to get these performers to include Trail on their tour is paying dividends for downtown businesses.
I haven’t even touched on series such as E2, Teck Family Series or Jazz at the Griff, which have brought under-the-radar entertainment including the recent Chase Padgett: 6 Guitars, an incredible blend of theatre and music, which left me wondering if that was the best-ever performance in Trail I’ve witnessed.
And that’s what is so great about the facility right in our own town – the variety of offerings will appeal to almost everyone. It can introduce people to new genres of entertainment at an affordable price and close to home.
I can never get enough of the intimate setting provided by the Muriel Griffiths Room, which, again thanks to the people like Nadine Tremblay in charge of vetting and recruiting acts, has brought diverse and memorable performances ranging from the Wardens to James Hill and Anne Jannelle.
We have travelled far a wide to watch great music acts – from Eric Clapton to Tom Petty to U2 and so many in between. We have spent our fair share of money on gas, food and hotel rooms just for the opportunity to see these shows.
But nothing compares to walking downtown, right up to The Bailey’s doors and sampling a level of entertainment, which too often we had to travel to see.
There’s a lot going on downtown in recent years to liven things up. The Columbia River Skywalk, the illuminated Victoria St. Bridge, the Riverfront Centre, the Trail Beer Refinery, expansion at the Arlington, the renovations at the Crown Point, the Royal Theatre’s re-invigorated glowing marquee and, of course, the huge crowds coming out to the Trail Smoke Eaters games.
While they are all separate entities, they do have something in common – re-energizing and reshaping our downtown.
And that can only be positive news for the new businesses suddenly sprouting up.
While many other communities are in the process of planning or continuing to re-invent the heart of their communities, Trail is already down the path — it’s showing and, from going to The Bailey, you can definitely hear it.
Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Times