No disrespect to Pacific Centre, but ask any Vancouverite living east of Main to name their favourite mall, and nine times out of 10, it’s going to be Kingsgate.
What Kingsgate lacks in “fashion options” or “windows,” it makes up for in functionality and an inspiring endurance. The Globe and Mail once called it “The mall that time forgot.” Located at the corner of Kingsway and Broadway, it’s the working-man’s mall, with all your staples—a grocery store, a liquor store, Ardene’s— and a charming selection of independent boutiques. (While I cannot and will not confirm this, it feels like the sort of mall that has a store selling swords, you know?)
The kingsgate mallest part of kingsgate mall. It’s a Vancouver thing. pic.twitter.com/6X7eb17is9— Dan Mangan (@danmanganmusic) December 21, 2021
When you’re in Kingsgate, you somehow feel like you’re underground. And that’s the way the locals like it. In a world of multi-million-dollar development deals and starchitecture projects and cater-to-the-wealthy department stores, it’s a rareified still-standing 1970s shopping complex (the land is owned by the Vancouver School Board) that still seems to actually just provide what the community needs without much fuss. And that no-nonsense attitude has attracted a surprising amount of affection over the years. For years an unauthorized Kingsgate Mall twitter account lovingly roasted the place; in 2015, a Vice writer spent 24 hours there and published a story about it.
Anyways, this is a very long lead in to some very exciting news: independent music festival Music Waste is producing multiple shows at Kingsgate as part of its 2022 lineup.
"Music Waste has always supported small, locally-owned and operated venues to host our events. Sadly, a lot of community art spaces have closed down during the pandemic, so we had to get creative," explains Lisa Sugiyama, Music Waste organizer. "The idea of Kingsgate Mall as a venue was a long-shot, but we had one thing in common: we serve to simply exist for our community."
Sugiyama and the Music Waste committee reached out to the mall with fingers crossed (Sugiyama describes the location as "iconic") and were surprised to be greeted with an enthusiastic, same-day response.
"We were floored," Sugiyama says. "Our Slack channels went wild and everyone was excited that this is actually happening. The response from bands and everyone we've talked to about this venue had the same reaction, 'THAT Kingsgate Mall!?!?'"
So this weekend, you can catch local artists like Haleluya Hailu and MA$$ANK (pictured above) performing right in Kingsgate's parking lot at Prince Edward St. and 10th Ave. The trio of Kingsgate shows at Kingsgate are just a few of the 13 shows Music Waste is producing across Vancouver June 2 to 5. Featuring 52 performers across a range of genres (“from solo folk to full-on screamo”), the 2022 festival is a return to live performances after two pandemic-y years of online adaptations.
You'll also be able to catch performances at Falaise Park Fieldhouse and Antisocial Skate Shop, as well as at more traditional music venues like Wise Hall and Red Gate.
Grab a $25 all-access pass at musicwaste.ca or buy tickets to individual shows for $10 a pop (though Music Waste also offers a pay-what-you-can option). We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the return to live music in the city than to dance it out at the most Vancouver of places.
Poster design: Baby Lee