By Jordie Yow

Venews - Illustration by Lindsey Hampton
Venews - Illustration by Lindsey Hampton

The Safe Amplification Site Society unveiled a database of local all-ages venues in Vancouver to the public via their website last month. This database is in the form of a Google Spreadsheet and can be found at
The spreadsheet contains an extensive array of information that would be useful to someone wanting to book a show. It not only contains the basics like contact info for booking, addresses, and how venues like to break down the money, but also almost anything else a show promoter might be interested in knowing about a prospective venue. This includes information such as volume and genre limitations, sound system specifics and the amount of staff they have available to help things run smoothly.

“Hopefully it will be useful to people,” Ryan McCormick, a director at Safe Amp. who spearheaded the project, said over the phone.

McCormick said the young society, dedicated to running the ideal all-ages venue in town, had been working on this project “off and on” for about six months. It contains about 50 venues in total, though some of them are a little difficult for your average promoter to book. The Secret Space is so secretive about their information that the only info in the database is their name, and BC Place is a little on the large side for most people looking to book a show in town.

“If ever I fulfill my dream of getting Bryan Adams to play a Safe Amp. show we’ll have that information,” joked McCormick.

The existence of this database does show that there’s no shortage of all-ages venues in town, but McCormick said that there is no all-ages venue in town that provides everything someone throwing a show might want.

McCormick pointed out that there are lots of venues on the list that can be booked, but that each of them has its drawbacks, whether it’s that the venue “only allows blues bands or [doesn’t] have a PA or costs $600 a night.”

McCormick also pointed out that, before it was hassled by bylaw inspectors into shutting down, “Hoko’s was pretty much the closest to perfect we had.”

McCormick hopes this database will serve a second purpose—to use it as a piece of evidence when they are pleading their case for funding—to show that there is no venue out there that will fill the void that Safe Amp. hopes to fill.

For more info on Safe Amp. or to get involved or donate visit their website at If you would like to have something added to the database or if you find any inaccuracies, send an email to

In other news:

We are sad to announce that Goonies, the Downtown Eastside art gallery and sometimes music venue, has closed its doors.

“It wasn’t as collective as I thought it was going to be,” said Merida Anderson, who ran Goonies up until its closure. Anderson enjoyed running Goonies, but found it too difficult to sustain entirely on her own.

“It was inevitable without finding enough help,” she said.

Anderson will continue to keep herself busy running a supper club and the occasional show from her house and is part of a banjo duo with Discorder’s art director, Lindsey Hampton, currently known as the Friendship & the Fawn.

Funky Winkerbeans will also be hosting many fewer shows in the future as both their weeklies (which hosted bands), No More Strangers and Good Burger, decided to leave the venue on Oct. 22. The promoters for the nights left after the owners of Funky Winkerbeans attempted to impose new conditions on them.

Tristan Orchard indicated that the venue owners wanted to make more money and wanted to take the door cover and guest list spots from the promoters.

“I give the venue respect for having live bands and I understand this happens all the time with venues wanting to make money,” said Orchard.

“[No More Strangers] isn’t even something that we’ve been making money on,” he went on, pointing out that it would be impossible to run the event without the money they were bringing in from the door.

No More Strangers seems to have at least found a temporary home at the newly opened Smiley’s in Vancouver’s downtown financial district. “We’re going to try it out and see how we like it and how the venue likes it,” Orchard said. Keep your eyes on the No More Strangers Facebook page or on for updates on their venue changes.
Good Burger has moved at least one show to their old home, Babar, in the Downtown Eastside.

The Royal Unicorn Cabaret may no longer exist, but in its location a new bar called Fortune Sound Garden has recently opened. Though it mostly seems to be hosting a series of DJ-based weeklies, it can still be used as a venue as is evidenced by the No Gold release show that took place there on Oct. 27. Hopefully, they will start booking some more live acts in the future.