A hot meal. A place to stay. A place to play.
What more could a travelling musician ask for?
Kelowna venue Snedden House is providing all of that and more for artists on a budget coming through the city.
Michael and Cindy Snedden moved to Kelowna in 2011 and have been hosting concerts in their living room ever since. While it started small, the Sneddens now pack over 30 people on average into their living room to listen to music.
And that’s truly what it’s about for them: listening.
“It’s hard to find a venue where it is intimate like this and people actually come to listen,” said Cindy. “When we go to see music, we want a listening environment. We can provide that here.”
Cindy said she likes to follow the bands they host and cited several bands who went on to be nominated for and win awards after playing at Snedden House. The Sneddens have Juno-nominated acts including Corin Raymond, Annie Lou and the Slocan Ramblers, along with various other award-winning bands.
Michael Snedden watches on from the kitchen as the concert happens in his living room. (Michael Rodriguez – Kelowna Capital News)
The couple hosts a potluck at every show of which “the band always eats first.” Members of bluegrass band Story House flocked to the buffet-style table and filled up their plates with home-cooked goods—a lot of which were provided by the Sneddens themselves.
Cindy and Michael Snedden talking while waiting in line for food. (Michael Rodriguez – Kelowna Capital News)
Dinner conversation ranged from the B.C. real estate market to the morality of DJing (general consensus from the band was that it’s not), but the band did not mince words when talking about the significance of venues like Snedden House.
“This is so necessary in the folk and acoustic space,” said Maiken de Villiers, vocalist and bassist for the band.
They elaborated, saying shows like these provide another place to play between larger festivals in the summer and it helps them to come out of a long tour in the black.
Story House is currently on the way to Shady Grove Bluegrass festival in Nanton, AB. Members of the band said this show will help them cover travel costs, which can be significant.
The cover charge for the shows is by donation—the Sneddens recommend around $20—and all proceeds go to the band.
“It’s really inspiring to get to know these musicians a little bit and we know that it’s hard for them,” said Cindy. “It’s really nice that we can provide something that works for them—and it really does work for them. We can feed them dinner and breakfast; usually they spend the night, too.”
While a lot of work goes into putting on these shows, the Sneddens said they don’t see an end in sight.
“It can be exhausting,” said Michael. “But every time it’s over, you think ‘that was the most awesome thing ever.’
“It’s so worth it.”