If you’ve ever been to Garkfinkel’s on a Sunday night, you’ve probably seen Lindsay Shedden moshing on the dance floor. But Shedden isn’t just a diehard fan — she’s the heart and soul behind the weekly Punk Night performances.
Shedden went to high school in Whistler, and started working as a shooter girl during stripper nights at The Boot on her 19 th birthday. Eventually, she began serving during Punk Night, which is when she noticed the quality of bands and turnout was steadily going downhill, and convinced the bar manager to let her organize a show.
“I just noticed that it was worse and worse bands and no one was coming… and I was always down in the city anyways checking out bands, because I just love live music so much,” Shedden explained.
She has been promoting and organizing Punk Night — affectionately known as the “church” — for the past six years, bringing local and international bands to the loyal legions of punk fans in town.
But Shedden is getting ready to start a new chapter of her life, and is finally bidding a fond farewell to Punk Night so she can embark on a new career as a tour manager and personal nutritionist for musicians, combining her passions for food and music.
She smiles, pointing to the tattoos on each of her wrists — one, a carrot, to represent her love for healthy, whole foods, and the other a representation of her passion for punk.
“Partying is a huge part of touring — drinking every night, playing really hard, staying up super late,” said Shedden. “You can’t do it all… you have to find a balance, and there’s no stopping a party, so why not take care of your body as much as you can in every other way?”
When bands go on tour, they get a per diem from their record company ranging from $5 to $20 to cover meals. But this isn’t enough to cover healthy meals, and most musicians end up paying out of their own pocket, or eating inexpensive fast food.
“My inspiration came from the hundredth band coming through from Ontario and half the members are sick and sleeping in the van up until the minute before the show… and then I’d see them pounding Red Bulls and drinking pop and walking with McDonald’s. Well, no wonder you feel so bad!”
When she goes on tour with bands, Shedden plans to pool each member’s per diem so she can go to a grocery store and prepare real, healthy meals. She also plans to write a book on healthy eating on the road, geared towards musicians.
She is set to hit the road with Carpenter at the beginning of April, and says it wasn’t hard to talk them into letting her tag along, because a few of the band members are vegetarian and interested in nutrition.
Since this is the first time she is offering her nutritionist and tour managing services, she is just asking for the same per diem band members get, and will use the experience as a sort of case study for future tours.
Though she’s excited to start on her new career path, she says she will miss Whistler’s sense of community.
“Even now, it’s mind-blowing that I’m not going to be doing it anymore,” she says wistfully.
Shedden is in the process of finishing her program, and will be a registered holistic nutritionist by the end of April. But with exams and case studies just around the corner, she simply doesn’t have time to organize the weekly Punk Night, and commute from her home in Vancouver for each show.
“I need those two days of my week back, and I haven’t had them for six years,” she said, adding that poor attendance at a recent show helped her decide to end the long-standing Punk Night.
“It was a really slow show, and it was for a band that always does really well in Whistler, and it was their last show that they’re ever going to play,” Shedden explained. “I thought, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ As soon as I said that, just to myself, I felt this sense of relief.”
But Shedden isn’t washing her hands completely of the local music scene, and says there are definitely other people who will organize the occasional show in Whistler.
Don your finest black apparel and head to Garf’s on Sunday, April 6 for the official “funeral” of Punk Night, featuring performances by Fraser, Cambridge, The Flatliners and Rebel Spell.