One final show as Kelowna says goodbye to mainstay record shop.

Photo by Andrea Marie Tan
Photo by Andrea Marie Tan

Since the news of Milkcrate Records’ eviction, music lovers in Kelowna have been bracing for the inevitable final days of the record store. Saturday, September 28 marked Milkcrate Records’ last official day of business. The following night, they held their last show ever, inviting Milkcrate live music alumni to help say goodbye to the celebrated store/venue and its patrons.

The final show was titled “The Last Cha Cha,” inspired by “The Last Waltz,” The Band’s finale concert held in 1976, a concert which has since become one of the most significant and iconic cultural events of the 70s.

Speak Easy headlined the event at Milkcrate Records. A fitting choice, as the band was essentially formed at the record store. Guitarist and singer Ollie Sandberg was an employee at Milkcrate Records before starting the Speak Easy project. While working at the store, he formed the project with bassist/vocalist Lauren Giorgio and drummer Scott Sparrow. Their live debut was held at Milkcrate Records, when it was still at the old location on Ellis Street. It all came full circle, as they headlined the final show at Milkcrate Records to a packed house.

In addition to Speak Easy, Elk the Moose was also part of the bill. Additionally, in a move that was again inspired by “The Last Waltz,” any musicians who had ever played a show at Milkcrate Records or wanted to were welcome to take to the stage to play a song, an offer which a number of people took up.

The venue was at max capacity, as patrons came out in droves to experience Milkcrate Records for one final time. The crowd was as mixed and diverse as the Milkcrate Records community. All age groups and backgrounds came together over a collective love for live music and the Milkcrate community. It was quite possibly the largest crowd Milkcrate Records has ever hosted.

While this marks the end of an era in Kelowna’s music and arts scene, the sheer numbers and overwhelming sense of community at Milkcrate’s final goodbye is an encouraging sign that the demand is strong for venues and stores like Milkcrate Records in Kelowna.