In the upcoming months, popular filmmakers, musicians, and comedians will be passing through The Broom Factory, with doors open to all ages.
Traditionally, live performances in Kingston’s art scene are limited to event spaces like bars or clubs, creating barriers for underage students looking to access and enjoy their interests. The Broom Factory, located at 305 Rideau St., breaks down these barriers by offering all-ages events and community space. The space primarily presents works of film and music.
During the day, The Broom Factory operates as a plant-based vegan-friendly cafe, known as the Tula Cafe. In the evenings and weekends, the space transforms into a place where filmmakers and musical performers can showcase their work in a 230-person capacity venue.
According to Kingston Canadian Film Festival’s (KCFF) Executive Director Marc Garniss, KCFF has always wanted a public presence and space to engage the community in films. As for music, Kingston has been in need of an all-ages event space for a long time.
“I probably liked music the most in my life when I was in high school,” Garniss said in an interview with The Journal. “For that demographic to not be able to attend a concert, to me, just seems ridiculous.”
In the past, Garniss said it was an unspoken tragedy that musicians in the industry were often playing shows into the early hours of the morning, which lent itself to alcoholism and drug addictions.
In addressing these issues, KCFF thought it made sense for the artists, art workers, and audience to run events early in a space more accessible and inclusive.
“In addition to underage people, there’s probably a large percentage of the population that’s just not comfortable going to a bar at two in the morning,” Garniss said. “By running our shows from seven to 10 [p.m.], you can get to work the next day. You’re not forced to stay up to a ridiculous hour to see a headlining act. If you want to come out and still have a drink, you totally can.”
The venue hosts popular artists who come through Kingston. Garniss said the city is a place to stop in between Toronto and Montreal. For this reason, the concert days can sometimes be less desirable, as performances are on Mondays or Tuesdays.
“We realize we may not be for everyone but we’ve kind of seen this need and gap in the local arts community for a while,” Garniss said.
Big-name artists, who’ve performed at venues like The Danforth Music Hall, have played at “the tiny little Broom Factory” and really loved it, said Garniss.
The Broom Factory has hosted performances by Ria Mae, Virginia to Vegas, and Dizzy.
Notable upcoming events include hip-hop performance by DAX on Sept. 30, bringing what Garniss believes to be an underserved genre to Kingston. He mentioned the waiting list for that show is larger than the number of tickets sold.
The Broom Factory will also host comedian Jon Dore on Sept. 23, and Degrassi creator Linda Schuyler on Oct. 14.
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