Walking up a dark street, the sound of mixed rock and punk music leads the way to my destination. Before I even step in the door the mood is set.
It’s early in the evening and the crowd is still small. Some people are busy searching through records and a few others are sitting on couches making art and chatting.
After a while of flicking through records myself, enjoying the record spinning performance in the background, I spoke with art student Ryland Fortie.
Ryland and his brother Dion Fortie, both TRU arts students, come out with the homemade art trailer loaded with art supplies including a mini printing press. People can come and just draw, or, with help from the brothers, learn how to make a zine (a small four- or five-page magazine).
The initiative with the art gallery and Barnacle Records, Ryland explained, was to “get some youth, our generation, stimulated in the arts.” The group at the store isn’t very large at the moment but does represent a growing number of people interested in a creative arts culture.
“The time is nice, because it ends at nine, so you can stop by on your way to a party or downtown,” Ryland remarked, a point owner Ronan McGrath also mentioned.
Being an artist and student, Ryland sees the growing art culture around Kamloops and recognizes there’s no centralized art community for those artists to gather and collaborate, which makes an art hub like this very appealing.
As we talk, people from the street come and go, lured in by the same beats that drew me in, the sound of vinyl tracks being mixed and matched on the turntables: a sound as unique as those choosing the tracks.
This is only the second event done in collaboration with the open mix night, an idea of owners Ronan McGrath and Jessie Kobylanski, to bring a little more attention to the evening.
The record mixing is open to anyone who is willing. And as McGrath sees it, it is really meant to get people, who would normally just be observing, involved in the process of making art in another way.
An evening of art and music has been the goal of the owners since the inception of the store. There are a lot of ideas between the two of them for what they’d like to see in the future, but for now it’s just one event at a time.
Like Ryland, McGrath believes there is a growing interest for events like this, and he hopes they’re “ahead of the curve,” in that regard.
“The city has, for a while now, been in a bit of a rut,” and with fewer people in the scene now this event is meant to be a way people can come together and collaborate, McGrath said.
Kamloops seems to be on the verge of becoming a more defined arts community, be it in music, performing arts, or fine art, and the Barnacle Records open mixing and art trailer event is a small glimpse of where we are heading.
Event information can be found on the Barnacle Records Facebook page.