Tierney Watkinson | News Director
“We’re thrilled to announce a line-up of local talents: Flying Machine PG, Crones, and Studio 720, with interlude tunes by Miss Ryan!” exclaimed the Backyard BBQ Facebook page earlier this month.
The event, hosted by NUGSS and the Thirsty Moose Pub, ran from 6pm to midnight on September 22.
DJ Miss Ryan opened the night with her calm, yet inspiring, heart-stirring beats. The Canadian Indigenous DJ is influenced by music from around the world and the earliest to arrive to the party got to experience the artist’s show in full. The well-known, city-beloved band Crones followed Miss Ryan to the stage with their upbeat rock vibe, performing at their best even as the night seemed like it would be a quiet one. Crones has been performing in Prince George for many years, and has received the highest praise from local news outlets including The Prince George Citizen and UNBC’s own CFURadio.
People trickled in slowly for the first couple hours of the event and the musicians played to a smaller, but nevertheless enthusiastic, audience. But as the night went on the venue suddenly filled with late arrivals and the dance floor was bursting at the seams. Flying Machine greeted the jumping, churning, bubbly crowd with their own deep rock music and reminiscences about college life. The band, fairly new to the scene, is well on its way to becoming known across the city. Finally, Studio 720 played to the late-night audience, a floor of new and old fans who stuck around to the very end. Studio 720, founded two years ago, has been making a name for itself by wowing crowds at multiple venues across Prince George. The tightly-knit band is known for their amazing covers of classic hits and their undeniable ability to keep the crowds dancing.
Miss Ryan returned to the stage to play the last dancers out as they dreamily left the Thirsty Moose.
Many of them hurried off across the turf and to the bus stop, heading to the Unofficial After Party held at Heartbreaker’s, hosted by the UNBC Synthetic Biology Club.
The Backyard Barbeque 2017 most definitely exceeded expectations. Holding the event indoors gave attendees the chance to sit down with their drinks and take a break from dancing, and gave the entire event a sense of control without suppression. Using the campus pub itself as a venue provided the “at home” feel to the event that was absent last year. This year, the stage felt less inaccessible and distant; the band was nearly on the same level as the dancers and people were often even invited up onstage to dance alongside the performers. The musicians spoke to the crowd as friends, sending jokes and personal anecdotes out into the crowd between songs. The sound at the event was brilliant. The security team was numerous and initially seemed intimidating, but as the night went on it became clear that its members were there not to be threatening but to keep everyone safe. Piles of merch from Pilsner and Cariboo beer were on display and free for the taking. Northern Lights Estates Winery had a wine tasting booth in the beer gardens and most certainly changed a lot of minds about what wine should taste like. The bartenders of the Thirsty Moose were excellent servers and could be seen dancing to the music, too. Hotdogs, served by the Moose’s very own line cooks, were provided to hungry dancers by donation.
The organizers, sponsors, and hosts of this event deserve a round of applause as passionate as that given to the performers. They found local, incredibly skilled musicians to play to a room whose vibe was undoubtedly more welcoming and inclusive than last year’s. Hats off to NUGSS and the Thirsty Moose Pub!