Vancouver City Limits – Bruce Garrish

Experiments in grassroots online music promotion offer broader exposure for indie acts.

Credit: Catherine Prentice

Pictured: Redgy Blackout at

Vancouver City Limits.

Vancouver City Limits is more than a weekly showcase of Vancouver-based singer-songwriters. It’s also an experiment in grassroots online music promotion.

The photographers, videographers, music producers, promoters and musicians behind the event are using web technologies to bypass traditional broadcasting channels and build an online multimedia archive of their scene.

Founder and music producer Bruce Garrish began hosting the event on Mondays at the Beaumont Stage with Colin Spier, a former road manager for Blues Traveller, and George Faulkner.

They soon started sharing their event with online fans through social networking sites like YouTube, Flickr and MySpace.

“I’m a singer-songwriter myself and wanted to promote others like me but felt that Vancouver was lacking a venue that really gave singer-songwriters exposure … Because I’m a professional music producer, I’ve been exposed to all the high-tech equipment available for musicians, but it used to be so expensive. It’s astonishing how technological convergence allows us access to so much of that equipment. Now everything I need and use is in my computer.” —Bruce Garrish

At the Monday-night showcase, musicians gain exposure and experience performing live, photographers and videographers build their portfolios, and audiences can watch the events live at the Beaumont Stage.

The results of these efforts appear online in an ever-growing history of the event. By accessing Flickr, YouTube and MySpace channels, interested web surfers can watch over 50 different performances. In the future, organizers hope to expand into developing podcasts and an Internet radio station.

“We’re lucky to have access to [the talents of] professional photographers, videographers, web specialists and music production people—it was just a question of plugging them into web technology. Now, without using a traditional website, we’ve got over 10,000 hits on our YouTube channel. The event has really taken on its own life—it’s not just a static thing, but open content where we can interact with live or virtual audiences.” —Bruce Garrish


See Vancouver City Limits


In real life: Monday nights at 7:30 at the Beaumont Stage, 316 w. 5th Ave.

Tickets are $6 at the door.

In virtual life:






A sample

Manuela is a singer-songwriter based in Vancouver. Here, she performs for Vancouver City Limits. Find more performers at