You don’t need to look beyond the city limits of Sarnia to find great original music.
So says Harold Collins, a Sarnia musician who’s packed the halls of Theatre 42 with dozens of bands over the past year for a homegrown concert series, Sarnia Indie Nights.
“These bands are really good. The bands I bring in, they really work on their craft,” said Collins, 35.
A guitarist with Sarnia rockers Circle The City, Collins launched the concert series after searching out performance venues for his own band. Sarnia just didn’t have an active scene for original, local music, he said.
“We have a tonne of great bands in town and there isn’t really anywhere to play where you aren’t background noise.”
He booked the first show in January. The second Indie Nights was in May, and tickets sold out two months in advance, he said.
The third show in September was two-night affair.
“I always thought that maybe Sarnia wasn’t the place for an original scene, but I think there is a receptive audience.”
Sarnia bands Gucc, Puce, Down River Band, The Human Fund and Dream Seer have all graced the Indie Nights stage, which typically leans toward rock and alternative music, Collins said.
Many acts at Indie Nights say Theatre 42 at 900 Devine St. is a great venue. It’s fully licensed and comfortably holds about 120 people.
Indie Nights is now up to a show a month and is welcoming bands from across Southern Ontario.
Collins is largely responsible for planning and promoting the events, and on show nights he’s either on stage or behind the soundboard, he said.
Once the venue fee is paid anything left over goes to the bands, Collins added.
But the time commitment is taking a toll on Collins, a full-time industrial mechanic and busy member with Circle the City. He hopes to add more volunteers to the Indie Nights team.
“Some of these bands, they could go to places like Toronto, those bigger markets,” he said. “If I can be a part of getting their music heard, that’s great.”
A country music night and acoustic night are in the works. Tickets are usually $10.
For show info, visit www.facebook.com/sarniaindienights