Ali Prince plays her ukulele in the marsh at Pipers Lagoon. Prince has previously performed in the Live at Longwood acoustic music series

Acoustic music night serves up local talent

NANAIMO – Live at Longwood acoustic series began in 2013.

The south end has the Dinghy Dock, the Queen’s, the Cambie and other live music venues, but what about the city’s north end?

That was the question posed a few years ago to the founder of GotPop? Concerts, Andrew Roberts.

“I had people ask me, ‘why isn’t there any shows in the north end of town?’” he said. “That was a good point.”

So Roberts, who knew that some north-end restaurants hosted the occasional live music performance, set out to create a live music series similar to that of the On the Dock series and reached out to the Longwood Brew Pub.

“They needed help up there,” Roberts said.

Ownership agreed and in the spring of 2013, Live at Longwood acoustic series was born.

“We were looking for ways to keep people there [at the pub] longer,” said Mike Campbell, owner of the Longwood Brew Pub. “We decided to give it a shot and it has been great.”

Live at Longwood takes place every Thursday night on the top floor of the pub. The acoustic series, which is free and for all ages, features musicians from Nanaimo and surrounding areas.

Regular performers include David Bitonti, Dave Hart, Paul Mitchell, Tora Leigh, Mark Bunt, Alexandria Maillot and Christina Lemmon.  The series gives musicians not just a place to perform, but a new audience.

“It is good practice for them to be out in front of people they don’t know because a lot of times some musicians will play just in front of their friends,” Roberts said. “They get a new audience to play their music to. A lot of musicians are stoked because it is hard to get gigs.”

Local musician Ali Prince, who has been a part of the Live at Longwood series, says performing at the venue has helped her reach new audiences.

“They have great acoustics with an awesome sound guy and a relaxed yet energetic atmosphere,” Prince said. “It’s also great that it’s always a free show and open to all ages so the audience is diverse as my sets.”Story continues below

Above:  Ali Prince covers Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud on the ukulele. Prince says the cozy atmosphere of the Longwood makes for a great show.

“I like that it’s an intimate stage so you’re able to interact with the audience,” she said.

After two years of hosting the series, it has not just attracted regular customers, but changed the atmosphere of the Longwood.

“We’ve got regulars that come and want to see the music and it has built up really nicely,” Campbell said. “It brings a whole different atmosphere that the Longwood doesn’t usually see. It has just been a lot of fun.”

All shows at the Longwood begin at 8 p.m. and are held on Thursday nights.

The next Live at Longwood performance features Mikaila Tombe and is tonight (Nov. 26).

Twitter: @npescod


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