Hey Everybody in Greater HRM – Fall River, Clayton Park, Sackville, Dartmouth, Cole Harbour and beyond!!
Your councillors are likely the ones who may need more encouragement and feedback from the community before supporting our initiative to keep the Khyber in public hands. This building means so much to the music, arts, theatre, LGBTQ and cultural communities of HRM and more and these councillors need to hear from you!
The Friends of the Khyber (myself included) would like to find a way to reach out to your communities to help connect the dots between The Khyber and the rest of HRM. City council will vote tomorrow (Tuesday) so if you have a moment PLEASE write your councillor TONIGHT or first thing tomorrow to express your support for the building. Both on a heritage level as well as a cultural incubator, the Khyber is crucial to the city. All the info you need to write your councillors directly is right here.
Thanks. Let’s save this amazing building and keep it in public hands.
To Whom it may concern,
I have been involved in projects based in the Khyber building for more than 20 years, starting with dance routine rehearsals for my Halifax West high school musical “Grease”, the building’s elegant workability impressed me as a 16 year-old doing cartwheels to “Greased Lightning”.
Over the following years I saw I made many recordings at a wonderful commercial studio in the attic of the Khyber. It was a great place to work in, the light, the wood, and the scale of the place is one that you just can’t make any more, a new steel and gyprock box cannot come close to the permanence of the 19th century building techniques, no longer financially possible to make new buildings like this, the tradesmen that made them are long gone and with it their skills and mastery.
We must preserve places like this for the following generations to experience and enjoy them as they are quickly being replaced by profit driven shoddy built, short sighted structures that will become the slums of the future. Money put into repairing and re-invigorating the Khyber is money in the bank, a place for the artists of the future to build their skills and add tangible value to the social fabric of the city.
We’re proud to have Joel Plaskett nominated for Producer of the Year and New Scotland Yard nominated for Recording Studio of the Year.
Nova Scotia Music Week is taking place from November 6-9 in Truro Colchester County. Congratulations to all the nominees!
In 1994 I was 19 years old and playing in my first band, Thrush Hermit. We were shooting our first video on the third floor of the Khyber building. I met and immediately fell for the video makeup artist, Rebecca Kraatz. We were married 12 years later.
By 2000, my new band the Emergency was jamming on the Khyber’s top floor in Ultramagnetic Recording, Charles Austin’s music studio. The skylight leaked, it was unventilated and hot, and we had to lug our gear up and down four flights of stairs. It was perfect. It was here we recorded our first album, Down at the Khyber, a reference to my favourite New Orleans singer Irma Thomas’ Down at Muscle Shoals. The Khyber was our Muscle Shoals and the music we were making there felt as relevant as anything being recorded at Abbey Road or Capitol, if slightly scrappier and budget conscious. At night we would head downstairs to the first floor Khyber Club to have a drink (or three), see a band (or be the band), and hang out with all the other artists, musicians, potters, freaks and locals. It was one of the happiest and most creative times of my life.
The Khyber is an incubator. It’s not simply a bunch of struggling musicians and NSCAD students hanging out, waiting on some grant money. It’s where people who occupy the fringe cut their teeth, launch their careers and find their community. It has housed hundreds of artist studios, galleries and local businesses over the years. This cross pollination of vibrant creativity and commerce in one building is rare. Can the same case be made about many other local buildings? Maybe the Roy but now it’s demolished.
I understand the argument that suggests these ideas, businesses and projects could incubate in another, more modernized space but it’s not that simple. The Khyber represents something bigger to the community. It’s our mini Greenwich Village or Left Bank. It’s history speaks to you through the floorboards and its presence downtown on Barrington Street is crucial. Yes, the Khyber costs the city money and it is easy to put a number on that cost that scares the city council. What is not as easy to tally is the wealth the building’s occupants have generated and put back into the community over the years. This number is certainly far more than the four million dollars they are saying it will cost to repair the building.
As the historic Halifax we all love disappears in the face of development we have to find a way to preserve and hold onto The Khyber, whatever the price tag. To quote my wife Rebecca, “we still need to have one beautiful lady standing there”.
- Joel Plaskett
Joel Plaskett is performing in the Rise Again – The Show Must Go On concert on August 20 at the Metro Centre in Halifax, in support for the Stan Rogers Folk Festival.
Festival organizers were forced to cancel their 18th annual event this year in the face of Hurricane Arthur as it blew into Atlantic Canada. Annually Stanfest, as it is affectionately known, brings over 50 artists together in front of 12,000 fans in Canso, Nova Scotia.
The line-up for the Rise Again – The Show Must Go On concert includes:
Tickets are $42.50. Tickets are available online at www.ticketatlantic.com, Ticket Atlantic Box Office, participating Atlantic Superstores, charge by phone at 451-1221 and toll free at 1-877-451-1221. Service charges apply.