Joyce and John Beaton are calling it quits on their long-running folk performance series, the Qualicum Acoustic Cafe.
Music lovers rest assured, though, the two still plan on collaborating to bring great music to Qualicum Beach.
“We plan on still providing these great community events, but not on the once a month commitment basis that we did before,” said Joyce.
Joyce says when she started the cafe, there wasn’t much in the way of monthly folk shows or venues for acoustic music in the town or in the neighbouring city of Parksville.
“Now, when we look around, we say ‘yay.’ There’s Ground Zero Acoustic Cafe, there’s the McMillan Arts Centre, there’s a storytelling group that’s started an open mic, there’s Billy Shakespeare’s,” said Joyce.
Now when performers contact her looking to set up a gig, she can send them to a number of musical venues in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
The Qualicum Acoustic Cafe ran for 11 years at the Rotary Hall in Qualicum Beach.
They served up volunteer-made organic apple crumble at their shows, and provided coffee that was donated to them by Creekmore’s Coffee Roasting Co., based out of Coombs.
“We were often able to pay for the rent of the hall from the sale of the coffee and the apple crumble. So incredibly generous of Creekmore,” said Joyce.
Joyce and John reminisced on the community that they helped foster during their time throwing shows. Joyce says her favourite part of the cafe would be the spirit of community imbued in the events. Over the years, the two became good friends with many of the audience members, hugging people as they came in and welcoming them.
“I think it’s a really nice thing in Qualicum to have a social network like that. The people are really nice, they have fun, and they’re such an appreciative audience. Every performer we have basically says they love the audience because they’re so attentive,” said John.
According to the couple, the shows were very popular, often prompting lineups for ticket sales.
“People would be queuing outside the shop before the shop opened on a Saturday morning to get tickets to the acoustic cafe,” said Joyce.
People would also lineup outside the Rotary Hall to get the best seat, which caused friendships to bloom.
“I sent out an email announcing we were stopping the acoustic cafe, and in response to that we got over 50 replies. A lot of them saying – well everyone was saying how much they appreciated it – but how they made friends with each other, the audience, through waiting at the door to get in and things like that,” said John.
The couple will continue their contribution to the musical scene in Qualicum Beach.
The next show organized by the duo will be the Tannahill Weavers, a traditional Scottish group that has been active since 1968.
The show takes place on Friday, Sept. 27 at the Qualicum Community Baptist Church. Tickets can be obtained at Covet in Qualicum Beach, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.