'People that have amazing things to offer': Saskatoon store offers to pay for street performances
SASKATOON -- A Saskatoon business is aiming to bring good vibes back to Broadway Avenue this summer by showcasing local talent – and offering cash.
“There’s so many people that have amazing things to offer so we just need to show up on the street to receive it when it comes,” said Corey Neufeld, co-owner of The Better Good.
“We want them to come out, bring life to the street, show Saskatoon what Broadway is all about, but also make sure those people get respected for the art that they offer to the community.”
The Better Good is offering $400 for an hour to local artists, musicians, bands and performers to play on Broadway Avenue as a way to make up some income lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve decided to do this for people who make their regular income through performing arts and they don’t have the opportunity to do that right now,” Neufeld told CTV News.
He has earmarked Saturdays and Sundays in June, July and August.
For long time axe-man Hugh Tait, this offer is a huge opportunity to earn some cash doing what he loves.
“The street corner is the only place left to play,” Tait said.
Downtown drivers may recognize Tait. He usually heads to the corner of Spadina Crescent and 21st Street during the summer months with his steel guitar to perform for a few hours.
Last year he was ready to embark on a 26-date tour across Canada, but the pandemic sideswiped those plans.
He said he was luckier than most because he could still perform downtown.
“But other people couldn’t and that really hurts,” he said.
With his downtime he’s written new material and attached a harmonica to a trombone.
Three-piece rock band Alien to the Ignorant cancelled a five-week North American tour last year because of the pandemic.
Singer and guitarist Swade Orchard said the band has been in limbo since performing live has been taken away.
“A lot of plans went down the drain,” Orchard said. “This whole part of our life isn’t active at all, it’s like half of us is missing.”
Orchard said he was hoping for some relief for the music industry, but didn’t expect an opportunity in the realm of what The Better Good is offering.
“I can totally see us just rocking out for sure,” Orchard said. “Hopefully people don’t run away from us.”
The Better Good is accepting video applications over email. Neufeld said artists will be chosen through a combination of vetting and lottery.
In total 10 spots will be available on weekends from June 1 to Aug. 30.