It was a Sunday night at the Queen’s Hotel. The year was 2004 and The Trews were playing to a nearly sold-out crowd. That’s when promoter Andrew Roberts had a moment of realization.
“I remember standing at the back of the room looking at everybody dancing and jumping and having a great time,” Roberts told the News Bulletin in October. “That was kind of the spark.”
That spark would lead Roberts to create Got Pop? Concerts, a promotions company that for the last decade has been responsible for bringing numerous high quality performers, including Marianas Trench, Lights, Classified, Cancer Bats, Bob Saget, Charlie Murphy, Steve-O and Tom Green, to the Harbour City.
“I never ever thought that I would be here 10 years later,” Roberts told the News Bulletin.
The Trews performance that night in 2004 was one of the very first shows that Roberts had organized as a promoter. On Nov. 25 the band that started it all for Roberts will be performing with The Glorious Sons at the Port Theatre as part of Got Pop? Concerts’ 10th anniversary celebration.
Lately, Got Pop? Concerts, which also promotes shows in Victoria, Courtenay and Vancouver, has been doing very well.
“This month has been the best month I’ve ever had in 10 years,” Roberts said.
Roberts, a graduate of Wellington Secondary School, has managed to form positive relationships with venues such as the Longwood Brew Pub, Port Theatre, the Queens, Acme and the Dinghy Dock Pub.
“In 10 years I’ve worked up a lot of contacts,” he said.
Over the past decade, Roberts has learned some hard lessons.
“There were like five years where I didn’t make any money,” he said.
In 2007, Got Pop? promoted roughly 100 shows on Vancouver Island.
“I was helping anybody I could,” Roberts said. “I was just saying yes to any band that wanted to come, regardless of if they could draw or not or if they could bring people out.”
Despite being helpful to anyone he could, Roberts was losing money.
“I’ve learned from that,” Roberts said. “You can’t help everybody out.”
In 2009, Roberts almost walked away entirely from the promotion business.
“It was a lot of work and I was burnt out at the time. So I took a bit of a break and see what I would do from there,” he said. “A couple weeks later after taking some time off I was still getting e-mails from people wanting me to put on shows.”
After nearly three months off, Roberts decided to give promoting another shot.
“I just needed a bit of time to reset,” Roberts said.
“There were 75 people there,” Roberts recalled. “But it was the very first performance of her ‘Call Me Maybe’ song. It was the first time she performed that song and it was in Nanaimo.”
A few months later, ‘Call Me Maybe’ would become one of the most popular songs by a Canadian artist and launch Jepsen into the international spotlight.
Going forward, Roberts is planning to bring some big acts to the Nanaimo, including Big Sugar. Roberts would also like to one day organize a music festival, but noted that it wouldn’t be any time soon.
“Everybody has always asked me to put on a music festival and I would like to,” he said. “It would be great to put on an outdoor festival but at the moment there are so many festivals going on.”firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @npescod