David Essig, Rick Scott, Ben Sures and Bill and Donna Konsorado (clockwise from top left) are among the musicians performing in the Harbour View House Concerts series. (Photos submitted)

Nanaimo folk music series returns in house concert form

Harbour City Concerts co-founder to host area musicians in his living room

A folk music series left dormant due to COVID-19 has returned to homey new surroundings.

Since 2018, Harbour City Concerts has been presenting folk concerts at Unitarian Hall. That came to an end early last year when pandemic protocols forbade gatherings. HCC co-founder Doug Creba said it was a difficult situation to face.

“It was very, very frustrating to deal with the unknown,” he said. “We had a couple of big-name groups from across Canada and the United States who said, ‘Well, let’s postpone it for one month,’ ‘Oh, let’s postpone it for three months,’ ‘Oh, let’s postpone it for a year.’ So we’ve got people who are sitting, waiting for international travel rules to lighten up and we’re looking forward to bringing them back to Nanaimo.”

With the recent loosening of some of those restrictions, HCC is able to operate once more. The plan is to eventually return to Unitarian Hall, but in the meantime Creba will be hosting the concerts in his living room. He’s calling the series Harbour View House Concerts, and they kick off next month with Protection Island guitarist David Essig. Creba said he can accommodate about 40 guests and is asking that all attendees be fully vaccinated.

So far artists have been booked for September and October, most of them hailing from the Nanaimo area. Creba said it’s “such a treat” to be able to present live music once more, and said the musicians he approached were eager to take part.

“And we’ve got other people who are saying, ‘When can you fit me in, too? I’m keen to come as well,'” he said.

He said COVID-19 has taken a financial toll on folk singers and he’s glad to be able to give them a place to ply their trade.

“Folk musicians earn their livelihood playing in front of live audiences,” he said. “They make a little bit of money on CD sales, but mostly it’s live audiences and they’ve been starving for a year and a half and we’re happy to be part of that change.”

He said audiences are also appreciative of the return of in-person shows.

“I went to a small concert in Duncan last week and people are sitting around and enjoying [it], smiles on their faces, tapping their toes, absolutely having a great time,” he said.

To view upcoming concerts and to purchase tickets, www.facebook.com/HarbourCityConcerts.

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