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Last call

A look back on the short life
of the Station on Jasper

Editor’s notebook
By Gwyneth Bignell

In a city that can feel like it sleeps from October to March, live entertainment is vital.

Edmonton has many venues for whatever musical genre you may desire. You like to dance to EDM? Union Hall’s the spot. Metal and punk are more your speed? Stop by Starlite Room. Maybe you prefer something softer. The Winspear or Jubilee might be for you.

And then there are the stadium shows, club shows, DIY shows, house shows …

But despite Edmontonians’ love for night life and live music, venues struggle to stay afloat. We lost The Pawn Shop. The Edmonton Event Centre is no more.

Now we can add Station on Jasper to the list of Dead Venues.

In their post, on Instagram, the management of Station on Jasper says, “We worked hard to reopen after all the Covid closures, but it was a tough ride.”

But something feels off. Everything happened awfully suddenly.

‘I don’t think we’ll ever really know
what happened’

Thursday, employees were informed of the closing of the venue. By Friday, their shifts were cancelled and the locks were changed. No one seems to know the whole story, not even (now) ex-employees.

“I don’t think we’ll ever really know what happened,” a local music personality told me on condition of anonymity.

Other venues around the city have absorbed some of the events that would have gone to Station. As of last Sunday, Soho picked up the Sunday Sound Stage open-mic event for local artists.

But what about the “Road to the Junos” shows, some of which were scheduled for Station on Jasper? Where will upcoming solo acts get the chance to test their stagecraft?

And when a venue closes, it’s not just the shows that are lost. It takes many people to run a venue: sound techs, bartenders, ticketers, managers, booker, promoters … The Regulars!

The list goes on. All of these people are left to find new jobs and new haunts and on very short notice, it appears.

The future of Station is no more and the future of live music is unclear, but the city needs sound and, to quote The Station’s closing statement, “Life Needs Music!”

You can find it if you listen closely.

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