“My vision is to do whatever I can to help create the healthiest possible live music scene. By this I mean that the venues are able to keep their doors open, musicians are able to make a decent living and audiences get treated to top quality performances.”
- Michael Dunn
Once upon a time, Michael Dunn was a ‘long haired git’ playing guitar in the Vancouver bar scene (this is circa late 70’s). A shift into the world of recording studios as a trainee engineer at Vancouver’s famed Mushroom Studios introduced him to many of Canada’s top recording artists of the day including Trooper, Prism, Chilliwack and more. Late night recording sessions that ended after the buses stopped running saw him driving a young lad from North Van home each night after the sessions. (We understand Bryan Adams did quite well with his musical pursuits). A standout event was working on sessions with a certain Ringo Starr and his buddy Harry Nilsson.
A downturn in the industry and the needs of a growing family caused him to leave “the music biz” in the mid ’80s and enter the world of business but, though he left “the biz”, he never lost his love for music.
Fast forward to the mid-1990s: Michael moves his family to New Westminster. Almost immediately, he started getting caught up in conversations about how to revitalize the old downtown core and how great it would be to have more live music available.
“It was 2016 when I finally looked myself in the mirror and said ‘Put up or shut up’.“ This led to organizing “The Great Gig in New West” at the Columbia Theatre, an event made up of an ensemble cast of local players performing the music of five of rock’s most impactful bands: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Police, and U2. The reception was beyond anything any of the players could have hoped for.
Variations of this show were performed on limited occasions over the next two years with continued tremendous support from the community.
At the close of 2018, Michael decided to move things to the next level and start bringing in other acts into New Westminster. The series “Five nights at The Columbia” was the first foray into this arena.
“I was thrilled to be presenting the five acts we chose for the “Five Nights” series at the historic Columbia Theatre. The theatre itself is an amazing place to see a band. Great sightlines wherever you’re sitting and just oozing with atmosphere. And the musicianship that was on display from all five acts was absolutely top calibre.
And then a certain virus came to visit. Covid-19 has truly turned the world of live music upside down. As of today (June 1, 2020), we are actively exploring options with live streaming, socially distanced 'backyard shows' and limited seating events in suitable venues. Stay tuned!