I read an article yesterday that said Canada’s university pubs are closing because students are drinking less. They opt instead for coffee shops or juice bars, or I don’t know, reading or jogging or something healthy. Anyhow, not too long ago in my University Lament, I mentioned how drinking was intrinsic to my academic career. I thought that was standard, a universal norm? But then I read this article and it made me sad…not because students aren’t drinking, but because this artcile mentioned that Edmonton’s Power Plant was closing.
The Dears’ first few cross-Canada tours took us through a lot of these college bars, and I can understand why some of them might be closing: Student Unions would pay out really high guarantees to bands (versus local promoters who don’t take those risks), which was great for us, but didn’t seem sustainable for the university. Students haven’t stopped getting wasted – they just go off campus, because campus pubs probably have to abide by too many Student Union rules to be fun. The Power Plant was an exception: we played there a few times, and it was always the most looked-forward to stop on a tour. Big stage, big room, soundcheck in natural light (!), great treatment, and nice staff, things that go a long way after you’ve been sitting in a van for eight hours.
University bars closing is a natural progression. I remember going to Reggie’s at Concordia where they had cheap, crappy pitchers of beer, and I even remember drinking there once while some students performed “Death of a Salesman.” That was weird. Nothing stays the same, and universities are evolving organisms that have to change with their students.