The Rainbow Bistro has been thrown a $50,000 lifeline by some blues-loving business executives.
The venerable blues venue has struggled to keep its doors open through the pandemic, as lockdowns kept music fans away and the virus’ persistent presences deters people from heading downtown. The money is meant to help bridge the gap until attendance increases.
“We are not prepared to sit idle as yet another live music venue closed in Ottawa,” says Kevin Ford, CEO of Calian Group and amateur rock guitarist in local bands for many decades. “A city is more than homes and businesses. It’s about music and the arts, restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. These are essential parts of the city that all contribute to our quality of life.”
The group that banded together to raise the money called itself the Rainbow Bistro Business Amplifiers, and included Ford, Jim Harmon (Boyden), John Jastremski (MDS Aero) and Cyril Leeder (Myers). Jamie Kwong of the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition is advising the group.
“I am totally overwhelmed by the interest these CEOs have shown in helping the Rainbow stay open,” says Sivyer. “They don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk as demonstrated in their goal of raising immediate funds to help the Rainbow pay bills for many months to come.”
Sivyer says the CEOs have tapped into their own contacts to raise the money and also provided valuable business advice.
The corporate donations come as the Rainbow Bistro prepares to celebrate its 37th anniversary with concerts by award-winning Canadian bluesman David Gogo on Friday, Nov. 26 and Saturday, Nov. 27. Tickets are available at www.ticketweb.ca.
Despite hitting the corporate donation goal, the business group has more plans, including helping the Rainbow Bistro update its website and launching a crowdfunding campaign in early 2022 and examining the business model of the Rainbow Bistro to provide a more stable financial foundation for the venerable live music venue.