Power ballads help reclaim Victoria’s historic Amelia street

Block parties look a little different when they’re organized by Nick Blasko.

Nick Blasko

A block party typically suggests a gathering of neighbours, tables filled with potluck food such as hotdogs and chips, and kids playing on their street, which is closed to traffic for the afternoon.

Get rid of these notions for the upcoming Amelia Street Block Party. Or amplify them by a factor of 1,000. That’s the number of people expected at the Aug. 4 event.

Block parties look a little different when they’re organized by Nick Blasko.

Fresh from the Rock the Shores concert headlining the Tragically Hip, Blasko and his team are throwing a block party before gearing up for Rifflandia, a four-day music festival in September that he launched in 2008.

In 2010 Blasko and his colleagues bought a 1913 Amelia Street house, and renamed themselves the Amelia Street Artists.

“The street in particular is a street I’ve always been fascinated with growing up in Victoria,” said Blasko. “It is a beautiful row of heritage houses, yet the other side is faced with a sort of stark government building.”

When the needle exchange opened nearby, it brought a lot of drug problems and other issues. And while the needle exchange has been closed for several years, the two-block street never fully recovered, Blakso said.

It is, however, a street in transition.

“People are sprucing up their properties; there are major condominiums building built nearby,” he said.

The party is a way to celebrate a unique corridor in the city that is often overlooked, he said. It’s also about celebrating the city’s 150th anniversary.

Blasko received a 150-celebration grant, and plans to highlight the history of the street during the event. Theatre Skam will perform historical skits throughout the day, and old photos of Amelia Street will be on display. So far, the oldest image is from the 1950s but Blasko is hoping to track down older photographs.

Today, all the turn-of-the-century houses are occupied by businesses.

Through organizing the party, “we’ve been slowly getting to know our neighbours, which has been nice,” said Blasko.

The event runs from noon to 8 p.m., and features a long line up of local musicians, such as Acres of Lions, Chris Ho, Clay George and others.

There will also be chances to participate, such as with live-band karaoke.

For people more inclined to sing along with the crowd, for one hour a DJ will play power ballads.

A power ballad is a mid-tempo ballad with epic vocals, said Blasko, adding, “think Phil Collins or Journey.”

“They bring about the most ridiculous sing-along. It is the most hysterical yet awesome participatory thing you can ever witness. These are songs that have these really dramatic and recognizable moments in them and the crowd just all goes wild.”

Hosting the event is Michael Delamont, a comedian who recently completed the fringe-festival circuit across the country.

“To get him to commit this much time to us is amazing,” said Blasko.

Mark your calendar

Amelia Street Block Party, between Pandora Avenue and Cormorant Street, noon to 8 p.m. Aug. 4.

Free, suggested donation $5 with proceeds to support causes such as Our Place Society

More info: ameliastreetblockparty.com

 

Just Posted

One year later, life is much different in Saanich for the Bui family

‘We still hear cars screeching at the intersection,’ says mom of Leila Bui

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Sidney

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Save-On-Foods fills up the pantry of Jeneece Place

Retailer stocks up kitchen of local facility for the fourth straight year

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Sailors reunited with family for Christmas in Victoria

HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Edmonton return following a two-month deployment

Victoria Canadian Tire replaces toys stolen from Salvation Army

Children won’t have to go without toys this Christmas

Vancouver Island First Nation buys limited interest in Western Forest Products

Huu-ay-aht First Nations enters into partnership with logging firm

Construction on road to Tofino and Ucluelet takes a break for the holidays

“The road has been restored to two way traffic flow through the construction zone.”

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Stricter drunk driving laws to take effect across Canada today

It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop

$1.1-billion Vancouver Island power plant replacement project officially complete

New Campbell River-area John Hart generating station replacing and upgrading 1947 facility

The prize was wrong: Man turns down trip to Manitoba

A New Hampshire man won the prize on “The Price is Right”, but turned it down because the taxes were too high

Publication ban on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by Black Press to lift ban

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Most Read