News from Vancouver: The Wise Hall is fighting to keep its doors open

News from Vancouver: The Wise Hall is fighting to keep its doors open
News from Vancouver: The Wise Hall is fighting to keep its doors open

A beloved live music venue in East Vancouver is trying to keep its doors open.

Last month, The Wise Hall and Lounge announced that it was in danger of closing after 60 years due to financial problems.

But since then, the community and local musicians have rallied to raise the necessary funds.

Like many other locations in the city, The Wise was hit hard by the pandemic.

“Because we are a nonprofit, we didn’t have much support during the two years we had to close during COVID,” Megan Giunca explains.

“It’s been quite difficult to pay back some of those government loans.”

The Wise needed $200,000 to get through the summer.

Since fundraising began in May, they’ve raised more than $60,000 – and 1,500 new people have purchased memberships.

“The list of bands that have come forward to offer their talent and time is incredible,” said Giunca.

“The community is coming in, ‘How can we volunteer? How can we help?’ Bodies, money, time or shoutouts on social media are really heartwarming.”

Some of those helping hands include the band Chase the Bear, who call The Wise home.

They will be performing for a fundraising concert on Friday evening. They want spaces like The Wise in Vancouver to stay alive.

“More and more, these places seem to be closing their doors,” said band member Connor Brooks.

“This is an epic space. I feel like these kinds of spaces are becoming increasingly rare, so the fact that artists have the opportunity to help and people have the opportunity to help is important to me.”

The band You Big Idiot will also perform on Saturday.

“I can’t even remember the first time I went to a show there, but it’s always been a place for young and up-and-coming bands to play,” said drummer Steve Pearson.

It is a significant place for many of their band members. One met his girlfriend there. Another had his wedding there.

“We experienced some very special moments there,” Pearson said.

Fundraising events will continue this weekend and throughout the summer. The Wise also has a larger fundraising goal of $700,000 for building repairs and other expenses.