The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
By TODD MARRIOTT Staff Writer The Niagara music scene has everything you could want, from famous musicians to music award ceremonies. The 16th annual St. Catharines Event for New Music Entertainment (SCENE) festival this year had upwards of 160 bands with bars from St. Catharines’ downtown core acting as venues for lesser-known bands. The SCENE festival was started in 1995 by Cashmere, lead singer for the popular local band, Revenge of The Egg People, as a way for local unsigned bands to get exposure. Bands that have played SCENE in the past include well-known acts like Silverstein, Alexisonfire, illScarlet and Billy Talent as well as thousands of acts from all over the world. Although they formed in Toronto, the Cancer Bats have only missed the SCENE Festival once since coming together in 2004. When asked why they like playing in the Niagara region despite a busy schedule that includes tours, five EPs, three studio albums and another album due next year, drummer Mike Peters said it’s “always great, it’s a home away from home. [Singer] Liam Cormier and [guitarist] Scott Middleton played here a lot when they were younger.” The Niagara Music Awards (NMAs) were created in 2007 to give local artists recognition for their hard work. Jordan Raycroft, a singer-songwriter from Welland, was nominated at the NMAs for the second year in a row, both years for Folk Artist of the Year and for Male Artist of the Year. He played at SCENE for the first time this year. “Throughout high school I heard about SCENE, but never went. [I’m] not sure why – probably a combination of money and parents,” said Raycroft. “I was hesitant at first, but thought I might as well try so I borrowed my girlfriend’s credit card and applied online.” Although he records his music in his university dorm room, Raycroft says he hopes to have a professionally recorded album available this year. “I had someone who does a phenomenal job offer to do it for free, but because it’s free, it’s taking a long time to get started.” L3 is the main stop for bands in the Niagara region, but there are many bars and clubs that feature live music including Mikado’s, Mansion House, Barracuda Pretty and many others on St. Paul Street in St. Catharines. Other than SCENE and the NMAs, the Niagara music scene is home to Niagara Metalfest, the Thorold Blues Festival and Bridgefest in Welland. If you want to find out what bands are playing nearby, you can check out niagaramusicscene.com as well as on Facebook for Niagara Music Scene. The record labels Indoorshoes and Project Pain are also great resources.