After 11 years of hosting concerts by touring and local musicians, the last concert at the Sasquatch will run on Saturday when Daniel Huscroft takes to the stage.
Owners Shelli and Paul Hutcheson are turning the performance space into suites, one for themselves, and chose the well-known musician to be the final act. Huscroft has just come off the road playing across Canada with J.J. Shiplett while touring with country star Johnny Reid.
“He’s probably one of the more current local musicians who’s made it the farthest,” said Paul. “We figured it was the best fit.”
Shelli started the Sasquatch as the Snoring Sasquatch Hostel in 2005, and word quickly got around that the venue, previously a church, was well suited to performances. She met a man at the Art Garage (a temporary downtown art gallery that ran a couple of summers), had a brief chat and suddenly started getting bookings.
“I really didn’t do anything to promote it,” she said.
The first concert was by Vancouver singer-songwriter Rodney DeCroo on June 24, 2005 — 11 years and a day before the concert this weekend.
The space soon took on a life of its own, Shelli recalled, and with the help of volunteers soon became the place for CD releases, conferences, workshops, art shows, theatre rehearsals, open mike nights, jams and other events.
“It did become a really neat party space, too,” she said, noting a meeting space is part of the plans.
One of the early volunteers was singing teacher Louise N’ha Ruby, who became a founder of the Sasquatch Arts and Music Society (SAMS).
“She just loved the space,” said Shelli.
SAMS leased the building for about four years until 2012, using its status as a non-profit organization to obtain grants and community donations, which helped with the promotion of events, as well as the renovations to a basement suite that provided income. The society handled concert bookings, and kept money in the coffers by creating new events, such as producing cabaret nights and even an original play.
“It really took a load off my shoulders,” Shelli said. “I was really struggling at the time.”
When SAMS folded, Shelli and Paul picked up the reins of bringing in performers, allowing locals to see acts they may not have otherwise. And the owners will miss seeing the audience respond to the live music.
“They were so engaged and in tune with music and musicians,” said Paul. “It was above and beyond what we expected.”
Tickets for Huscroft’s June 25 concert are $20 in advance at Buffalo Trails, Black Bear Books and Kingfisher Used Books, and $25 at the door, which opens at 7 p.m.