The coolest off-the-radar concert venue in Surrey just might be Chris Jeklin’s farm out on Colebrook Road, not far from King George Boulevard.
A renovated barn includes a large, multi-level stage that boasts more lights than a typical nightclub, and the entire 40-acre property is Jeklin’s pride and joy – a go-to party place he’s pieced together over the past couple of decades.
“Oh yeah, I built all this,” a smiling Jeklin said while giving the Now-Leader a tour last week. “We’ve always had this land here, our family, and I moved here in 1992. This barn was nothing – caved right in and with a dirt floor, wide open, everything else.
“I did demolition for a living,” continued the fast-talking musician, “but here I put it all back up and put it together, right. It was my barn, my shop, but I ended that company in 2001, and it changed after that when I got playing drums again, with this band. That’s how long it’s been going, pretty much.”
Long a venue for private and semi-private parties, the Longriders’ rehearsal barn was to play host to a public event called The Stevedore Stomp on Saturday, July 27. The single-day “tribute music festival,” planned in partnership with Cloverdale Concerts, promised an indoor/outdoor party with six bands and camping for concert-goers on a grassy area next to a lake with a dock.
The $40 ticket included the camping fee and performances by The Longriders plus Sister Sabbath, Priest the Tribute, OC/DC, League of Corruption and The Other Guys. The event was BYOB and 19-plus only, with food trucks on site, for what was cleverly billed as a “five-acre shaker.”
Then, on Monday (July 15), four days after this story first appeared on the Now-Leader website and others in the Black Press Media chain, promoters of The Stevedore Stomp were forced to cancel the event.
“Popularity can be a double-edged sword in the world of rock and roll,” says a post on Cloverdale Concerts’ Facebook event page. “When we announced this Five Acre Shaker, many people responded and we sold a lot of tickets. So many in fact, that the event is now deemed a festival and requires infrastructure costs and municipal fees that are impossible for us to meet.”
Event organizers said refunds will be given.
“We at Cloverdale Concerts are very, very sorry that this has happened to you – the bands, the fans and all the technical and support staff. Our job here is to make shows accessible to people south of the Fraser River, and we will take this experience and use it to plan more and better shows for this market.”
“Stevedore” is another word for longshoreman, or dock worker, and this particular Stomp has been held on the property a couple times before. This year, the event was opened to the public – “but it’s still done with the longshoremen,” Jeklin explained in an interview on July 10.
Attendance was to be capped “at around 400 people,” said David Geertz, who runs Cloverdale Concerts.
“That’s a good number, because any more, you can just get a whole set of problems,” Jeklin added said before this year’s event was cancelled. “This is for our friends and people who have respect for each other. And we’ll open it up for camping there by the lake, just a good time, but we don’t want the idiots.
“The neighbours, they’ve never complained in 19 years,” he added with a laugh. “We’ve never had a problem and we’re not starting now.”
The barn and farm recently held a pig roast that featured multiple bands – including the Longriders, of course.
“That was our 12th one,” Jeklin said. “We have our fans and they always come, a lot of them on their bikes, and they go wherever we go. They just love southern rock, which just makes you wanna dance. The food, the music, it’s just growing and growing.
“It’s my passion,” he continued. “You know, you build something like this, you want to share it with people, right. That’s what life’s all about.”
Plenty of local musicians have played in the barn over the years, including Trooper and Jerry Doucette, and the venue is also used for music videos filmed by Gene Greenwood.
“People in music, they kind of know this spot,” Jeklin said. “A lot of musicians have shown up here, and the acoustics are good with the high ceilings, too. And all the lights, those I got from a guy I know in the movie business. So we put all of them up, it’s great.”
As for the Longriders, Jeklin drummed with the band from the start, with a couple of “breaks” along the way.
“Back in 2001, I saw a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in years, and he got me back playing drums – I quit for 11 years after playing through the ‘80s and ‘90s,” he explained. “So I wanted to play in a band and I saw this ad in the paper, putting together a southern-rock tribute band, and I knew the lead singer from working, and I got the part. Well, six months later I got fired, and two years later, 19 drummers later, they asked me to come back and played for two more years and got fired again,” he said with a hearty laugh.
“Anyhow, it fell apart and got together again, like that, and here we are still playing today.”
Meantime, Cloverdale Concerts has planned several other shows at Shannon Hall and Cloverdale Fairgrounds over the next couple of months, including Brickhouse (Aug. 10), a Summer Rap-Up featuring Snak The Ripper, Merkules and others (Aug. 24), Lindsay Beaver with Steve Kozak Band (Aug. 30) and a R&B triple bill with The Crackerjacks, Billy Dixon’s Soul Train Express and Big City Soul (Sept. 27).
The concert series was launched June 1 at Shannon Hall with performances by Steve Kozak Band and The Modelos, followed on June 15 by The Hip Show and Fo Fighters.