Matt Stuckless and Mike McDonald have a plan to get musicians out there.
It sounds a bit like the Matchmaker Game from a few decades ago, but it's a plan they hope will bring more tourists to the region and spark development of a music scene in unexpected places.
Using their Twillingate-based 618 Entertainment as a vehicle, the pair want to give musicians of Newfoundland and Labrador the chance to play in different parts of the province, and, they want to give tourist venues something different to offer the people who stop in the area. They get to enhance the experiences of their guest.
It is something that has worked so far.
“It is based out of necessity,” said McDonald. “Our vision is to get Newfoundland musicians a place to play in-province, and help communities. The interest is there, but not the tools.
“The feedback we’ve gotten so far is really good.”
To date, they’ve put musicians in the Smallwood Interpretation Centre in Gambo for a series of shows this summer, as well as musicians on the decks of tour boats in Twillingate.
“Our vision is to get Newfoundland musicians a place to play in-province, and help communities. The interest is there, but not the tools." — Mike McDonald
Right now, the pair want to focus on the regular summer season in this province, with the goal to incorporate winter venues in the future.
The whole concept is very much similar to what business students around the province have in various maker spaces – places designed to spark ideas and foster growth – at various educational institutions.
The linking of musicians with tourist venues gives local talent the chance to interact and grow. They can bounce ideas off each other and form a connection.
Stuckless points to a successful open jam they helped organize at the Split Rock Brewery in Twillingate several months ago.
Started on a Sunday, and Split Rock’s least busy day, they wanted to give local talent the place to get together and play.
The more experienced players had no trouble delivering a couple of tunes, while some of the more shy musicians – who had played their whole lives but never performed for anyone – got the chance to feel everything out.
“It is amazing to see that they’ve become a group of friends in the last couple of months,” said Stuckless. “We’ve got musicians in the area who can play each other’s songs.”
It is the same idea for their project. They want to see the number of established players growing in Hare Bay, Gambo, Twillingate and elsewhere.
There is a bit of risk involved. While they do charge a small fee for their services, the pair have been investing some of their own money. That's been for equipment and some advertising, but they see it as worthwhile if it can bring people out and get them playing.
“It is a passion project,” said McDonald. “We’re trying to build a bridge.”
For more information on shows and tickets, visit 618entertainmentnl.com.