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Interviewing the man behind Hunter’s, Globe and The Factory

MoeTown
by Moe

Steve Barber (photo: Moe)Steve Barber can be a man of few words at times, while at other times, a man of seemingly infinite stories. When you’ve been running one of Charlottetown’s hottest spot for live shows for roughly eight years, this really shouldn’t be a surprise.

Moe: How did you get to own three venues?

Steve: I used to run Route 66, a small bar under Blossoms on University Avenue. I was only 19 and started doing trivia there, then running the bar. Then I worked at Myron’s on and off for 7 years while I put myself through school. Moved out west, went to school, came back home. Found a fellow who wanted to invest in the restaurant industry in PEI. Once we got Hunter’s up and running, 4 years later we were able to use the revenue from Hunter’s to purchase The Globe. With the profits from that, and a little help from the Credit Union, we got lucky with our neighbours and purchased that building.

Moe: What’s the best thing about being a venue owner?

Steve: So many good things. We have 160 staff. I’m living pretty much every teenage/young adult’s dream. I get to work with 160 awesome people. I get to be out every night with these people, having a good time. Working with the public and doing something that I love, the marketing aspect, band booking aspect. I love the bands. I like to see bands succeed.

Moe: What’s been your favourite show here?

Steve: So many. ECMAs in 2011, we were able to pull off what I believe was the best line-up, besides the actual show of the ECMAs itself. We had 4 bands a night. Carmen Townsend, The Stanfields, Paper Lions, Two Hours Traffic, it just went on and on. If that was a festival where all of those bands played together, it would cost you $100 or something. On the Sunday, Slowcoaster played from 10:30 pm until 2:45 am. They didn’t stop, didn’t take a break. They played every song from every album.

Moe: How do you make that decision (to book a band)?

Steve: If your band has never played here before, it’s very hard to get your foot in the door. There’s 100 other bands who have played here before who I know are going to do very well for the place, sell drinks, keep the 160 people in the company with a job. If you’ve never played here, don’t come say “Yeah I want this gig and this is how much I want to be paid.” Continuously send me messages, emails, come in and say “yeah I’ll take anything, open up for this band, come in on open mic.”

Be willing to support a bigger act. Team up with somebody. Find somebody who is a draw and talk to them to get you in and involved in the show.

Moe: What’s in store for Hunter’s, Globe, and the Factory?

Steve: There’s EDM (electronic dance music) upstairs Fridays and Saturdays at Hunter’s, downstairs will continue to look for the best, appealing acts. The Factory, we’d like to gear towards the older demographic. More shows on weekdays with artists who are well known in the maritimes who appeal to the 35+ demographic. The Globe, you’re going to see a lot more DJs. We love the jazz and blues area. We do a show every Saturday afternoon with PEI’s Got Blues, we’ll continue that right into the summer. Saturday nights at 8 pm there’s a rotation of jazz and blues bands that do well.

I think that people should do their best to support the scene. Without support for bands that come here to release their cd or play a show, they’re just going to stop playing.

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