The Nickelodeon Music Club is well under way with its’ 33rd season, and the club’s artistic director, Vic Bell has been along for the ride since the very beginning.
The folk music club, which meets in the Crescent Heights Community Hall, is run exclusively by volunteers like Bell who have a strong passion for folk music and the arts.
“Venues like the Nick and every folk festival in the country simply would not exist without the dedication of volunteers,” said Bell.
The club was founded in 1980 with the intention to include a broad range of performers and music genres in its’ lineups.
Bell performed at The Nick in its inaugural year.
“I was first invited to perform an opening set at the Nick on Nov. 22, 1980,” said Bell.
“Several of the founders were friends from university days,” he said.
A year after his performance, Bell moved to Calgary from his home in Vancouver.
“As soon as I moved here, I started volunteering at The Nick, hauling and setting up sound equipment,” he said.
He continued to volunteer for The Nick, becoming the club’s artistic director in 1985.
After getting his start at The Nick, Bell contributed to Canadian folk music on several platforms, including the Calgary Folk Festival, Canmore Folk Festival, and a festival in Kigali, Rwanda.
“I’ve served as a board member of Folk Alliance Canada and multiple times as a juror for the Juno Awards, Western Canada Music Awards and The Canadian Folk Music Awards,” he added.
The Nick has hosted eight performers on four Saturdays during its’ 2012-2013 season, which began Sept. 29th.
For half of the eight guests, it was their first time performing at The Nick, which is something Bell is proud of.
“After 33 years at this game, we have a lot of old friends, but we still try to stay ahead of the crowd by introducing new artists to the local community before they are generally well known,” he said.
The most recent act, on Nov. 10, was Jennifer Berezan, who first performed at The Nick in February, 1989. Kris Demeanor also performed at The Nick that night. It was his first time back since his last opening gig in March of 2001.
A night at The Nick is one spent in a comfortable and cozy atmosphere, full of people, young and old, who share a love of music.
“The intimacy of the venue lends itself to a great rapport between the performers and audience,” said Bell.
“It’s laid back,” he said.
“Over and over again our artists tell us what a pleasure it is to play at The Nick and how responsive our audience is,” he said.
Bell strongly encourages anyone who enjoys music to come out to the Crescent Heights Community Association, at 1101 2nd St. N.W. for future performances. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the first performers take the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for 2013 performances are $25 and will go on sale Dec. 14th
For performance dates and more information head over to their website.