Al Seaman performing at the Music Cafe. (Submitted photo)

‘Music Cafe’ in Parksville questions future amid COVID-19

As a new business, they don’t qualify for government assistance

Pete Bratton and Faye Hansen opened the doors of the ‘Music Cafe’ amid the pandemic but were hopeful that people’s desire to see live performance would help them get through.

That hope is fading.

The pair is now worried the impacts will be too great for them to stay open. Although they said they’ve received some great support from the community, they’re not busy enough to get by.

”Opening up June 3 was a big risk but there comes a point when you are past the point of no return and you just have to carry on,” wrote the couple. “Now, after three months in operation and the ever-increasing list of regulations concerning and preventing live music from happening, the end may be in sight for many, if not all live music venues as we once knew them. And, it might be the end of The Music Café.”

Bratton wonders if people have adapted well enough to COVID-19 that they don’t crave live music in the same way or if it’s people being too nervous to go out.

“There have been times when we’ve had some really good musicians playing to an appreciative crowd and it’s just wonderful, it makes it all worthwhile for a few hours there,” said Bratton. “We thought live music would be sorely needed, and that people would come out no matter what, almost.

“We do have a safe environment for people, but we’re wondering nowadays if people have kind of lost the need to come out and mingle with other people and have that shared experience of live music.”

READ MORE: ‘Music Cafe’ opens its doors in Parksville

Bratton said they were set to shut at the end of August, but a few good days changed their minds and they’re giving it one last try until the end of September. Being a new business, they don’t qualify for government subsidies, so they’re just holding tight and seeing if the uptick in customers sticks around.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “If we had 30 people every night, we could probably stay in business, but we’re wondering if it is just COVID or if a live music venue is really needed in Parksville.”

You can see the line-up for the cafe, which is located at 631 Island Highway East, at its website, themusiccafe.ca. Jenny Lester and Tai McGillivray are set to play on Thursday, Aug. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Sunday, Aug. 30 from 1 to 4p.m. Cover is $5.

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

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