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

Major expansion coming to Royal Bay Secondary

Province will build space for 600 more students on same site

Colwood wins Victoria Flower Count for a five-peat

The 43rd annual Flower Count had over three billion blossoms counted in total

At the age of 95, local bowler shows no signs of slowing down

Olive Olmsted has bowled for more than 55 years

Langford fundraiser for kidney disease is a success

Maureen Hobbs thinks B.C. Transplant says it best: “Live life. Pass it on.”

Preschool group helps release fish into Glen Lake

The number of fish released correlates to the number of fish caught per year

Celebrating our transit drivers on their day

March 18 is International Transit Driver Appreciation Day

RCMP move to arrest pipeline protesters at entrance to Trans Mountain work site

28 demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. Saturday

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Most Read