The Dam Pub in Thornbury, Ontario sits at the foothills of The Blue Mountains, upon the shores of Georgian Bay. It has been a popular place with Celtic musicians and music fans since 2005. A Gastropub and Whisky Bar with the charm of a traditional Scottish pub, the establishment recently renovated its second floor ~ now a charming live venue called Gord’s Room. Celtic Life International’s Lisa Butchart recently caught up with owner/operator Stephanie Price.
Tell us about your father Gord Price, for whom the room is named?
Gord is the patriarch of The Price family and our family owns and operates The Dam Pub. We have a love for music and an appreciation for the effort it takes to be a great musician. My father Gord picked up the fiddle later in life while living in Cullen Scotland with my mother Sandy. Although in his very young years both took violin lessons together at the tender age of eleven. Following his heart, Gord began to travel the Celtic circuits taking part in workshops, ceilidhs and just plain hanging out with some of the best musicians in the world. He has travelled trains from the west coast to the east with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, attended the east coast Celtic Colours Festival and Cuban Celtic Festivals. It has always been his dream to channel the pub into a world known venue for musicians which is unfolding before our eyes.
What is the concept behind Gord’s room?
It’s very much a Hugh’s Room approach, but on a smaller more intimate level. It’s a small, handsome room on the upper floor of our circa 1870 pub surrounded by instruments and Scottish artifacts away from the main floor hustle and bustle. It gives music goers an opportunity to enjoy the music in a warm and cozy atmosphere complete with a fireplace and the enjoyment of food and drink. The musicians love the room and can play a casual, acoustic show to a very focused and appreciative audience without the pressure of big lights, sound checks and formal playlists. The musicians can relax, enjoy a fabulous meal and do what they love to do….play music.
What artists have performed, or are scheduled to perform, at the Pub?
We have been blessed with many musicians such as Ireland’s Caladh Nua, from the Magdelan Islands, Vishten, the world famous, Tony McManus. Saskia Thomkins and Steafan Hannigan, Patrick Ourceau, North American fiddle champ, Shane Cook, Andrea Beaton, Brian Pickell, our favourite local Celtic band Scatter the Cats. Anne Lederman and Emilyn Stam christened Gord’s room with a high energy, foot stomping show in April 2012, and Tim Chaisson is scheduled to perform September 2012. We also host other music genres such Bobby Dean Blackburn, master of blues and jazz, Scottish born folk/soul artist Fraser Anderson from southern France and the lists goes on.
Besides performances featuring local and international artists, what other music opportunities does the pub provide?
Gord has been hosting Traditional Music Sessions the second and fourth Wednesday of every month for the past four years at The Dam Pub. Local musicians from all over the region join Gord and play the night away. This is an evening that has become a popular event for both the musicians and patrons of The Dam Pub. We have just begun a monthly Youth Open Mike the third Sunday afternoon of each month. This gives young, passionate musicians an opportunity to share their music on stage and reap the benefits of the positive audience support. In some cases, our House Concert musicians offer an afternoon workshop the same day as their performance.
What feedback are you getting from patrons?
They appreciate the pub atmosphere, similar to the original pubs of Scotland and Ireland where the music of tradition is integral to the social gatherings. A welcoming approach allows players, singers and patrons of all backgrounds a chance participate in the open sessions and as audience members, a chance to interact with artists at a more intimate level than possible at a large scale venue.
For information about the Dam Pub and a schedule of upcoming events visit www.thedampub.ca