On the heels of the great success, a few weeks ago, of its first live show in 60 years – Ring of Fire, A tribute to Johnny Cash – The Port Theatre is already planning the next one.
This time around, it's a tribute to country duo Brooks and Dunn, "Hard Working Men," slated to take the stage, on September 22nd.
"The cultural value of The Port Theatre and being able to have live shows here cannot be understated," said Mark MacDonald, who has now taken on the role as production manager for these shows. "I think that it's massive."
MacDonald, who has been involved with the Citizens For the Port – a grass roots effort to save the heritage theatre from certain demise - said that his continued participation in these live events would be conditional upon the inclusion of local artists as well.
To that end, it was also announced that local classic-rock cover band, The Butlers, would be opening up for the main event, that night.
Originally founded in 1965, by Bob Bazinet, The Butlers have been a mainstay in the area. Bazinet, will be joined by band mates George Charron, Claude Clement and Larry Sylvain.
"As we move forward," said MacDonald, "when we bring in a main act we want to give a local bands the opportunity to open for them."
Other opportunities such as a Christmas showcase, battle of the bands and CD launches are also in the plans for the future of local act.
"We want to keep the ticket prices low and provide the best possible venue we can provide," said MacDonald. "This (venue) is a completely different vibe (than going to a bar). You're here to listen to the music, and to appreciate the artist. If we can provide the opportunity to shine the spotlight on some local talent, that's what we want to do."
"This Brooks and Dunn tribute is going to be amazing," said Jeff Brunet, Alkaline Entertainment, adding that they have been endorsed by the originals. "They are the only tribute to Brooks and Dunn in Canada."
Proceeds from this and future live performances will go towards the ongoing refurbishment of the theatre.
There's a long list of capital work that still needs to be done, including a stage, adequate dressing room and air conditioning among others. As much money and resources at they can reap from the events, will go back into the building, says MacDonald.
"We believe in the Port and we believe in local talent and we believe that if we can put the two of them together it's like the final piece of the puzzle."