Starlight celebrates its tenth birthday with a block party

(Heather Davidson -- Photography Manager)
(Heather Davidson — Photography Manager)

When Starlight Social Club wants to celebrate something, they celebrate in a grandiose manner. Taking over the Jane Bond parking lot, Starlight held a day long block party in celebration of their tenth anniversary. Jane Bond owners Josh Koehler and Bernard Kearney bought Starlight ten years ago—back then it was originally a ballroom dance club.

“The club previous to us was called the Starlight Dance Club; it was a ballroom dance club that taught a bunch of different kinds of dancing. It had the history of being a dance club,” Koehler recalled. “When we took it over, we had wanted to capitalize on that element … we had a little more freedom to book bigger acts with more people. We also wanted to keep the dance and DJ nights as well.”

To find bands that would play the block party, Starlight simply looked to the vast number of acts who had gotten their start or have played previously at Starlight and Jane Bond and who had a close relationship with co-owners Koehler and Kearney.
But why a block party?

“We always had that space out back and thought about doing it and talked about doing it. We had talked about doing different things over the years—the festival, some kind of annual outdoor festival. But we hadn’t really seen anything like that in KW since Sounds of Summer which had played in the park when we were younger … we just had a few ideas about getting something going,” explained Koehler.

Artists playing at the block party included Diamond Rings, Whitehorse, NQ Arbuckle and The Sadies. Originally, The Sadies were meant to end off the night at 7:30 but due to a family emergency, Whitehorse—who also closed Hillside this year—got the honour.

“Bernard [Kearney] asked us and we played here a bunch. We always have a good time playing at the starlight. We wanted to do it and be a part of it because it is a great place,” said John O’Regan, better known as Canadian electro-pop act Diamond Rings, on his involvement with the block party. It was kind of a compliment to be asked by a promoter and a venue that sees a bunch of great music on a regular basis.”

Most of the acts have a personal relationship with Kearney and Koehler and have played Starlight many times. When it came time to decide who was to play the block party, Koehler recounts that “it was pretty easy” because “it was all people we had worked with over the years and became friends with. Every band except one were bands that had played with us over the course of the ten years or longer at Jane Bond.”

As of right now, there are no immediate plans to make this event a yearly thing. Though that is only the thought right now. “There’s nothing solid, we didn’t really think doing this beyond a celebration for our tenth. It wasn’t planned for the purpose of having a party. We just wanted to try it to see how it went … having said that it seemed to be the consensus on Sunday that everyone was wanting us to do it every year,” added Koehler.

The music was a very cohesive blend of rock and folk, except for Canadian electro act Diamond Rings. However, Diamond Ring’s contribution was a lovely and appropriate contribution that seemed to jazz the audience up for the rest of the day. Stand out performances on Sunday included The Sadies, who also spoke fondly about their memories with Kearney and Koehler and their early performances at Starlight.

Here’s to another ten years at the Starlight Social Club.

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