Some of the biggest up-and-coming names in Canadian, North American and international music have taken the stage at The Royal in the last year.
This week owners Paul Hinrichs, Howie Ross and their staff were rewarded for all their hard work when bcliving.ca named The Royal the people’s choice pick for Best Live Music Venue in Interior BC.
“I had no idea we had been nominated for the award,” said Hinrichs. “I found out we’d won when they sent us a letter. I looked into it after I opened it up.”
Hinrichs was skeptical at first because the award didn’t say The Royal or Nelson on it.
He was concerned it was an attempt from bcliving.ca to get a sticker in their window as an advertizing or promotional campaign.
After logging on to the website, Hinrichs discovered that it was a legitimate contest and they had in fact earned the title of Best Music Venue.
“The title feels great, but for me the best part is that it is a people’s choice award,” he said. “That is what has made the whole thing work up until now, we have the commitment, the following and the support of so many people in the community.”
Hinrichs said it is the votes from the community and the people who attend concerts at The Royal that is most rewarding.
The first runner up in the same category was the Kelowna Community Theatre followed by Lillooet’s Miyazaki House.
Hinrichs said the Kelowna Community Theatre puts on great shows and are “great people.”
“To me to win with those other operations in the mix is pretty humbling for sure,” he said.
It has been almost a year since Hinrichs and Ross took ownership of the Royal, but even though local music lovers are taking notice of the calibre of talent taking the stage, Hinrichs said many of the same acts had played the venue before.
“A lot of the acts like Cuff the Duke and Garnett Rogers, had played The Royal before, but no body came. At Cuff the Duke’s first show there was 17 people there,” he said. “Now, we officially own it and it has been a year of good success. It feels like we’re taken seriously. By winning an award like that, we feel like we’ve been recognized, people are paying attention and see the acts that are coming.”
This week The Royal announced Vancouver-based band Mother Mother ¨C who have shared the stage with The Cat Empire and Tragically Hip – will play in December.
With the first year behind them, Hinrichs and Ross show no signs of slowing down, and have plans to continue to develop partnerships with local events like Starbelly Jam.
“We have been working hard on developing this bond with Starbelly Jam Festival and have it be a really strong back and forth where artists who have played the festival before can come and play the bar,” he said.
Many of the artists that play the Crawford Bay festival enjoy the experience and the area, but never come back, Hinrichs said he is hoping to change that.