By Jenna Lee Williams
EDMONTON — In the heart of downtown Edmonton, in the old CKUA headquarters, you will find The Needle Vinyl Tavern: one of Edmonton’s newest bars, restaurants and mid-sized venues that opened earlier this year. The Needle has two stages, a state of the art sound system, a VIP area, and musical murals (including an image of Prince) and is complete with a vinyl-tiled floor.
BeatRoute checked in with owner Rob Campbell and promoter/booker Daniel Lenz to get the skinny on the Edmonton’s newest hot spot.
Edmonton lost many crucial music venues in 2015, but many new ones began in 2016. “That is a bit of weird coincidence. We actually started the project more than three years prior to opening. We really felt that location was critical. There were venues around at that time that subsequently closed, and we were as disappointed as any other music fan in town to see them close. We saw the vision of our venue to be different than venues in existence. It took us the better part of two years to find the right location,” explains Campbell.
Rob Campbell and fellow owners Neil Bosh James Leder had plenty of time to establish their business plan; a business plan that sets The Needle apart from other bars. “We wanted to create a place that was designed from the ground up a music venue. We wanted to build a place that had great sound, a proper green room, and be comfortable for patrons also,” says Campbell. “We really do want to make a difference in the Edmonton music scene and try and be supporters and promoters of Edmonton music.”
The owners and staff of The Needle are also supportive of the Alberta Music City initiative. Edmonton is a festival city, but is also well on its way to becoming a music city of the north, similar to Edmonton’s sister city, Nashville, Tennessee.
“If you go to a city like an Austin or a Nashville, whether you are going for brunch, lunch, happy hour drinks, a Saturday night out, there is music all the time. We want to really try to bring that, have a place to go to be exposed to live music,” notes Campbell.
This is a feature of the venue that stands out for Lenz also: “With having longer business hours than most venues in Edmonton it allows us to have more live music. We have music seven days a week including happy hour and brunch acts, regular Sunday and Tuesday nights as well as ticketed events throughout the week.”
What type of shows are booked at the Needle? From local bands to international, The Needle hosts them all. Upcoming shows include: Danny Michel on June 17th, SUUNS on June 15th, and of Montreal on June 19th. “Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo, the Cuddy Family Band will be doing a fun party set in early July. We also want to do a Canada festival and have some great talent lined up,” says Campbell.
With the owners and staff all being music lovers themselves, Campbell discusses the importance of community: “We believe in growing the whole music scene in Edmonton. It benefits everyone in town culturally, and we really want to actively engage in the music community and hopefully see it getting stronger rather than the deterioration we have seen with the closures.”
The Needle is located at 10524 Jasper Ave. and is open daily from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.AB, Alberta, music venues, Needle Vinyl Tavern, new music venue