Like every other year, the featured bands of Riot on the Roof drummed and sang and keyed the night away under the stars from the top of the parkade above the Vernon Public Art Gallery, echoing far beyond downtown. Unlike other years, the audience listened from blocks and miles away, at home.
“Riot on the Roof has become such a fun and meaningful connection point for emerging artists and youth in our community. The musicians have the chance to perform and the audience has the chance to be moved and inspired by their sounds, so we’re so glad we were able to carry on with plans to host it virtually this year,” gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy said.
The 12th annual Riot on the Roof shifted to a week-long virtual event Aug. 17 to 22, hosting videos and songs by bands from across the province and then culminating with the featured event Aug. 22, which featured a livestream concert from the Vernon parkade roof. Musicians included Kelowna indie-soul band Post-Modern Connection, Kamloops psychedelic rock outfit Mother Sun, and Vernon’s own singer-songwriter-producer Justin J. Moore.
“The bands all said how great it was to be playing,” said Kiera Ariano, who helped organize Riot with fellow youth ambassador Chris Atkins. “They haven’t had as many opportunities to perform, so I think it meant a lot.”
Throughout the week, hundreds of visitors logged on to the Riot on the Roof website to watch videos, film, art creations, and performances featuring emerging B.C. talents. Dozens of people took in the live concert Saturday, which featured professional sound support donated by Record City.
“We were really pleased with the interaction we had throughout the week, and that night, and I think if there is a silver lining of hosting Riot virtually, it is that we got to give a platform to video artists and other virtual content. There aren’t a lot of opportunities like this, especially for youth locally,” Atkins said.
The VPAG YouTube channel will host a produced version of the main show, while Record City has also shared their unedited recordings of the full performances on its YouTube channel.
The 12th Annual Riot on the Roof was put on with critical support from Record City, Davidson Lawyers, Vernon Roofing Inc., SunFM 105.7 and Castanet.
“We are very thankful to our partners for helping us to bring the arts to youth,” Kennedy said. “Our students also did a terrific job of bringing this together for our community.”