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Pint-Sized Collective changes Calgary’s all-age scene

By Jason Herring, May 21 2015 —

Being a teenage music fan in Calgary is difficult. Most bands play in bars and clubs where audience members must be at least 18-years-old to attend. Calgary’s Pint-Sized Collective, along with independent underage musicians from the city, are hoping to change the all-age landscape by offering concerts where all fans are welcome.

When Pint-Sized was formed in 2010, founding members Vanessa Gloux and Nicholas Field used the name to distribute records and tapes from larger labels. The group has since expanded and now hosts all-age shows, mainly for touring punk and hardcore groups. Gloux says the collective believes it’s important to “cement a reputation of hospitality in our city for touring artists.”

The concerts put on by Pint-Sized are promoted as all-inclusive. Gloux says the policy helps create safe and accessible spaces for underground music to thrive.

Pint-Sized Collective holds most shows at smaller venues, such as Tubby Dog on 17th Avenue. // Raj Taneja

Pint-Sized Collective holds most shows at smaller venues, such as Tubby Dog on 17th Avenue. // Raj Taneja

“Our shows follow a pay-what-you-can and all-ages inclusive ethos, both as an outlet for the often marginalized under-18 audience, as well as a critique of the dominant club venue culture,” Gloux says.

Having an alternative to clubs is important so music fans feel comfortable at concerts. Gareth Lukes, owner of Lukes Drug Mart, has organized all-age shows since he was young and says they have a positive environment.

“We did a Constantines show in 2005, and I remember talking to the band after and they said it was the best show they ever played because people were excited and they weren’t drunk,” says Lukes. “That was the problem, every single night they’d play in front of people who were drunk and obnoxious.”

Pint-Sized Collectives’ concerts typically take place at smaller venues around the city, like Tubby Dog or the National Music Centre. The collective also runs a record label that releases music from a variety of local musicians.

Several underage musicians from Calgary are also taking the initiative to organize concerts, most following the same all-inclusive policy as Pint-Sized Collective. Experimental noise artist Jack Sinclaire has been organizing and playing shows in Calgary for the past six months. He says he books bands that showcase local experimental music. He views the shows as a stage for artistic expression free from discrimination.

“I think [the shows are] important because they’re very inclusive and give people the opportunity to play whatever kind of music they want without risking any harsh judgement,” Sinclaire says.

In similar music scenes, there has been a strong non-substance policy at shows. Sinclaire says this isn’t necessarily the case at his venues. While substance use is discouraged at concerts, he says that it’s still rare to see anyone get kicked out of a show.

The pay-what-you-can pricing of the concerts means that Sinclaire usually doesn’t do much better than break even after renting out a venue, but he says he doesn’t mind.

Pint-Sized Collective will host a concert headlined by Jung People, a two-piece Calgary post-rock band, at 7:00 p.m. on May 24 at Tubby Dog. The show will, as always, be open to all.

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