This month we look to the north and feature www.jambands.ca. The site’s Mike Bouchard comments…
Jambands.ca has been around in it’s current form for about a year. My partner Mark Tonin and I each ran our own websites. Mark was running Jambands.ca on his own, and I had been running the Phishsanctuary.com domain for about a year and a half. Jambands.ca was mainly a resource for the jamband scene in and around the Toronto area. Phishsanctuary.com had a rich community of friends and jamfans actively using the forums in the site to stay in touch throughout the Ottawa area and it was growing steadily from coast to coast. Jambands.ca also had an online database of shows that were going on in Ottawa and some surrounding cities but the interest in posting shows nationally was growing.
At this time we both realized that it might be easier and very interesting if we combined the two sites and the resources within, to build a brand new site using the Jambands.ca domain and to amalgamate the ideas we shared. In May 2002 the sites merged. Typing in Phishsanctuary.com’ led you to a newly designed Jambands.ca that combined traits and features of both sites. The new site was quickly embraced by both faithful users and new users alike. Jambands.ca main page contains mostly Canadian jamband related news stories, links to interesting web content, links to jambands, interviews with Canadian jamband artists and an extensive photo gallery. Jambands.ca also has a customizable feature on the main page called "The Watchtower". Visitors can choose up to 4 cities to watch’ for shows (click on add show watch’, and select Ontario, Toronto to see what I mean), and it taps into our database of live music and displays upcoming shows, artists and venue information. This site feature is maintained mostly by jamband website enthusiast KevO, who used to manage KevO’s shows page’. The Watchtower’s database is fully searchable by jambands.ca visitors and is a useful tool for planning tours and advertising shows. The most popular feature on jambands.ca has to be it’s live forum known as "The Sanctuary". The forum is open to all members and has regular features such as "Show Roll-Call", Question of the Day", "5 Disk Rotation" and "Music News". Sanctuary users, affectionately known as "Scanks" are in constant communication and maintain relationships throughout Canada. When heading to festivals like the moe. down, Bonnaroo, and Canada’s Evolve and Come Together Music Festival, everyone has a much easier time staying in touch using the jambands.ca forum. A large number of people in the forum, go by and know each other by their pseudonym. It’s amazing to realize that, after talking with someone all weekend at a music festival, you only referred to them as Weezy’ or Velvet’. The last year has been probably the most intense of all preceding years in the Canadian jamband scene. Unlike the States our scene is just evolving and there are still very few mainstream jamband acts. The relatively small size of the Canadian scene means people feel more intimacy in the scene and are very involved in it’s evolution. Everyone feels they have a role, whether it be spreading the word to their friends, supporting their local band, or organizing shows. Everyone is watching bands like nero, from Ottawa, transform before their eyes and ears from a small bar band to a nationally embraced jamband. There is no doubt that the years to come will be even more exciting and progressive. Jambands.ca and jamfans will be right there along with the scene, helping it grow and spreading the incredible music across our country.