BANFF – As 90 per cent of Banff and Lake Louise's population has received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, it appears to be time that up-close-and-personal mosh pits return to roaring summer music shows.
This Sunday (July 25), a free “for the locals by the locals” punk rock show returns to the stage at the Elk and Oarsman in downtown Banff.
Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and kicking things off in style is the Bow Valley Bandits.
“I’ve seen a few music shows now since everything has opened up, but being from the Edmonton punk scene, it’s just in my heart to be in the mosh pit so I’m excited to go and see my friends play and stuff and I think it’s going to be a really big turn out,” said Jacob Gill, Bow Valley Bandits’ lead guitar and vocals.
Alberta lifted most restrictions on July 1 and in the mountain tourism town, many restaurants and hotels have been keen to book musical talent to entertain returning crowds.
It's been great for local musicians, said Gill.
“Before the pandemic, it almost felt like I was asking to get booked and now people are asking me to come play,” Gill said, who’s had three gigs so far in July. “I feel like there’s a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of people are really stoked to see live music and it just seems like it’s moving in the right direction right now.”
Along with the Bow Valley Bandits, Sunday's punk show is featuring two other Banff bands,f punk rock trio Regal Foul will go on second, and then four-piece skate punk All The Time Everywhere will headline the night of music.
“It feels like there’s a really good reception in town,” said Gill. “I know there's a lot of people in Banff they go to shows like that myself I'm just hyped to go see an actual punk band again."
Gill (vocals, guitar) and Chase Long (vocals, guitar) make up the folk band with a heavy punk influence.
The Bow Valley Bandits formed about two years ago for the Battle of the Bands competition at Tommy’s with Gill and ex-band member Cole Routledge, finishing third place.
“That is basically where the band came together,” said Gill. “It ended up taking off pretty well so we kind of stuck around with it.
“[The band’s name] started off as something we just used for the Battle of the Bands and then after it started catching a bit of traction and people knew it I made that realization that it would be a good name to put up around fliers around town … the name wasn’t my favourite at first but it definitely grew on me after a while.”
The duo released an original six-track EP in 2020 at the height of the pandemic before Routledge returned to his native New Zealand.
The band usually mixes its sets with covers and originals, but on Sunday will focus primarily on its own sound.
"We’re going to do all original sets," said Gill. "Maybe toward the end we'll throw in one punk cover just to kick things off for the rest of the punk bands going … it’ll be a different vibe than our normal sets, so that will be cool."
Regal Foul released its debut album Monsters in Disguise in 2020.
All The Time Everywhere's debut album The Long Con was dropped in 2020, as well.