Local non-profit makes music more accessible

By in Culture

Booking shows and finding venues can often be difficult for musicians under the legal drinking age, but a local organization seeks to help by making Saskatoon’s music scene more accessible.

Take Something and Run was established by Robbie Hynes in 2014 as a way to promote local young talent. The organization recently obtained non-profit certification and is sponsored by the City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Lotteries and CFCR. The organization is currently run by Andrew Magwood-Dufour and Declan Hills — two Saskatonian musicians.

The Sheaf sat down with Andrew Magwood-Dufour, TSAR financial director and first-year student at the University of Saskatchewan, and Christian Pollock, TSAR outreach volunteer and third-year political studies student, who explained that the goal of the organization is to help musicians and visual artists under the age of 21 gain recognition in Saskatoon.

“[We’re] definitely focused on the 15-21 [age] bracket. In addition to music, we promote visual art by way of posters, and we’re trying to expand that over time,” Magwood-Dufour said.

Pollock identifies some of the problems that artists in this age range face from his time performing in the Saskatoon independent music scene.

“I wanted to be a part of [TSAR], because I had an appreciation for how difficult it could be to navigate the music scene in Saskatoon before you’re 19… Being under age, finding venues [and] finding other bands to play with … it can be hard,” Pollock said.

The live showcases originally took place in the now defunct Beaumont Records but have more recently moved to the Riversdale-located Underground Café.

“The Underground is a great venue. It’s licensed, but it also has one of the broadest ranges of non-alcoholic options,” Magwood-Dufour said. “And it’s got lots of space, so we can put on full bands, anything from folk to metal.”

TSAR also hopes to improve the overall Saskatoon music scene by supplying young artists with the necessary experience to continue their craft.

“People who are young will be a few steps ahead from where they were a few years ago, because they’ll know how to get shows [and]they’ll know how to communicate with other bands and what the norms are in this scene,” Pollock said. “Even in terms of recording and making albums and things like that, I think our organization can play a big role.”

One of the goals for the organization is to promote a diverse array of musicians.

“As much as possible, we want new bands with men and women and gender nonconforming people. We want LGBTQ acts, we want Indigenous artists… A big part of maintaining that diversity is just trying to bring in new artists,” Magwood-Dufour said.

TSAR also hopes to branch out to other cities in the future.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have a good working relationship with some bands from Prince Albert… Expanding to other cities is definitely something we’re keeping our eye on,” Magwood-Dufour said. “We brought three bands down from PA to come play with us, too, and that’s really good for establishing a broader musical scope than just Saskatoon.”

Regarding future growth, Magwood-Dufour is optimistic about the group’s new non-profit certification.

“This next time around, it looks like we’ll be applying for grants [ourselves]… To say we’re going to build our own steam is incredibly valuable, and I think [it] will open a lot of doors for us,” Magwood-Dufour said.

For Pollock, radio has potential as another viable way to engage and promote young artists.

“A short show on the radio, where we talk about the local scene [and play] some of our artists, who have just released EPs and albums, would be super cool,” Pollock said.

TSAR is hosting a showcase featuring Poetic Junction, The Local Group and Alien to the Ignorant at the Underground Café on Sept. 28.

You can find Take Something and Run on Facebook or Instagram at @tsar_sask.

Cole Chretien

Graphic: Take Something and Run / Supplied