At a time when many Vancouver music venues are shutting down, here’s a piece of good news. The WISE Hall in East Van has received a whole bunch of money to pay for renovations.
The money, provided by Creative BC, will be used to pay for new sound equipment and updates to the building. A new sound system and lighting, stage resurfacing, additional soundproofing are all on the to-do list, thanks to the $90,000 grant. The renovations should be completed by February next year.
“As a not-for-profit, we’ve had stuff donated and we’ve purchased where we can, but this allows us to move into a place where we have good gear that has some longevity and can carry us through the next decade,” said WISE Hall manager Jasmine Liddell.
This will be the biggest set of renovations in the building’s more than 90-year history. The WISE Club began life as an immigrants’ social club — WISE stands for Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English — in 1958, and in 1963, bought what is now the WISE Hall from the Grandview Methodist Church.
Since then, the hall has had many different uses beyond its original incarnation as a social club. In the past, it has played host to names such as SNFU and others. Since 2014, the WISE Hall has focused on supporting local music and culture. Prior to that, the venue was only used as a rental hall, but the decision was taken to turn the downstairs lounge into a live music space.