Abbotsford isn’t known as the most accommodating city for live music, but the Abbotsford Arts Council (AAC) is working hard to change that.
This weekend marked the final concert of the AAC’s Envision Financial Coffee House and Concert in the Park series, and it ended with a full house. Local musicians Kat & Tony brought their acoustic folk and blues music to the SippChai Café on Saturday.
Sophia Suderman, the new executive director of the AAC, explained that the concert series strives to provide a performing venue for talented local artists from a variety of genres.
“[Musicians are juried], so the quality is great,” she added. “It’s nice to be exposed to some different music. Everyone has a band that they follow, but it’s nice to just come out and see what other people have put on the table for you.”
This year saw 37 bands performing and over 45,000 attendees in total, according to Suderman.
Part of the reason the event was able to feature so many bands were the double park performances, a new addition this year. In previous years, the park series that take place during the summer, only featured one artist or band each week, but this year the AAC changed that. Every concert in the summer showed two acts.
The event also partners with Envision Financial’s Full Cupboard initiative to raise funds and awareness for local food banks.
“It’s just a great way to participate with the food bank and get people involved, and a way to get contributions,” Suderman explained. “I think the whole partnership of it has been really good.”
Suderman explained that at this point, the AAC is unclear if the current concert format will carry over into next year.
“Now that it’s ended we’ll do a debrief and we’ll see if that’s something they want to continue doing or not,” she said. “It’s hard to say at this point.”
Suderman attributed some of the series’ success to its reliable schedule, noting that for some, it has become a calendar staple.
“I think something that’s really positive about it is the consistency of it,” she said. “There are a lot of regulars that come out; there are a lot of people that plan their nights around it.”