Make Ian Vardy’s Dream Come True by Going to See Four Fabulous Local Bands

If local photographer Ian Vardy can reach his reasonable target of $3,500, he’s off to help build a school in Barkina Faso to honour the memory of his father Cal. After 9 months in hospital, Vardy’s father passed away in 2014, and instead of burying himself in creative work, he knew he wanted to do something more profound.

This sentiment coincided with hearing about and Barkina Faso. His father was an educator his whole life, so the idea of helping build a school, in one of the world’s top 5 poorest countries, seemed like the perfect fit. One problem plaguing the country is its poor education system. Schools in Barkina Faso are traditionally made of mud, so, no one goes to school in the rain; snakes and insects are a problem; poor plumbing means there’s no on-site washrooms, and the walk to a toilet would make you miss a whole class. Building a more modern facility will alleviate all those troubles, and help bring an end to stats like 78% of its population being illiterate.

To quote Ian, “No country has ever achieved continuous economic growth without first having at least 40% of its adults able to read and write.” There will be a benefit show at The Rockhouse on May 8th, featuring 4 fabulous local bands – Green & Gold, Hear/Say, Jonny and the Cowabungas, and Slick Nixon. All proceeds go to Vardy’s mission. You can also donate directly at

Montreal’s The Franklin Electric to Play The Rockhouse on May 30th

The story of Franklin Electric is an engaging one. In 2011 Jon Matte lost a close friend, and the initial shock of that loss sent him into a creative fury to work through it. “I played for a long time with this friend. For me, music was intimately connected to him. His death gave me the courage to follow my dreams. Suddenly, it wasn’t something that I would eventually do some day. Writing songs was something I was doing daily.”

In 2012, Matte beat out 8,000 contestants to win a Nashville songwriting competition for the song “Old Piano.” From there, he hit a studio with some close friends and The Franklin Electric was born. They’ve since toured with acts like The Barr Brothers, Ben Howard, and Half Moon Run, building a broader and bigger fanbase with every crowd-winning show they play. This will be their first show in Newfoundland.

Brent MacNamara of Brent Mac Entertainment is bringing them here. “When I was in Montreal this past fall,” he says, “a friend had told me about the band and got me tickets to their show. The first time I heard them was at their concert, I immediately became a fan and knew that the people of St. John’s would love this band as well. When I looked into it I found that the band had close ties with Hey Rosetta! and lists them as one of their biggest influences, all the more reason why I felt they needed to come to St. John’s.”