B.C.'s Shred Kelly will launch fifth album, Like a Rising Sun, live on the Internet

The province's music industry soldiers on in the face of a pandemic

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      Fernie-based alternative folkies Shred Kelly have performed their high-energy shows at countless venues over the years.

      But with the pandemic shutting down any gatherings of more than 50 people, it's crushed the live-music business and left bands scrambling to promote their latest tracks.

      So today, Shred Kelly will be launching its fifth album, Like a Rising Sun, through a livestream at 10 a.m. Fans can buy tickets and see the show through the Music B.C. website.

      On June 1, the B.C. government announced $7.5 million for Amplify B.C., a provincial music fund being delivered by Creative B.C. to help artists during the pandemic.

      Watch Shred Kelly's video for "Dead Leaves", along with some modern dance moves.

      More recently, Creative B.C., the B.C. government, the City of Vancouver, and several private and corporate funders joined forces on the SoundON provincewide campaign to deliver more support to presenters, musicians, production staff, and venues.

      It's expected to lead to 100 free shows being offered, though SoundON aims to encourage people to make donations.

      "This is a tale of resiliency and one we’re excited to share with British Columbia,” SoundON producer Eduardo Ottoni said in the June 30 announcement. “Music and gathering are at the heart of every vibrant culture, and something that gives joy to so many people. The pandemic has not only had a devastating economic impact, but an emotional one. Our aim is to be a beacon of resilience during the pandemic and beyond.”

      Applications to present shows can be made on the SoundON.ca website.

      With fears of up to 90 percent of independent music venues closing in Canada in the next six months, SoundON will try to replace those lost performing opportunities by funding and streaming curated content with the help of festivals and presenters.

      “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the once effervescent music industry in B.C.,” Music B.C. executive producer Lindsay MacPherson says on the Creative B.C. website. “It is a pain that has been felt by so many, especially those working in arts and culture.

      "A group of leaders from across the industry have come together to collaborate on a way to bring back life to the sector," MacPherson continued. "We have everyone from city officials, promoters, presenters, venues, production, and artists working on the project. Our aim is to be highly collaborative, in an unprecedented way, to bring our beloved industry back.”