Help Yourself

Photo Credit: Dave Clair

Help Yourself

🕔Sep 11, 2017

A few years ago, Haida Gwaii punk bands Dub Jackson Band and Jason Camp and the Posers played their first show together. Being near the 5th of November, they called the event, “Guy Fawkes Yourself.” The two bands rented out the Legion in Queen Charlotte and, with some help from openers The Mutual Suspects and APPLES, it was a historic night of high-energy tunes. It was also a night that would kick off a new scene in Haida Gwaii.

A year later, following the second Guy Fawkes Yourself show, which featured five bands, a roller derby team, and a bunch of basement-made screenprinted merch, talks of a new initiative began. Dub Jackson Band and Jason Camp and the Posers had put on a few other shows over the course of the year and were starting to see the potential for a DIY scene on Haida Gwaii. Audiences were feeding off the energy of the new, exciting, and fast-paced punk rock, a refreshing departure from the classic rock cover bands and DJs that had held down the live music scene on Haida Gwaii for some time.

Out of these discussions arose the now incorporated Ging Gang Hla tllGad Independent Music and Arts Co-operative. The name is Haida for “help yourself,” based on the idea that when we help ourselves we help each other. In such a small community, supporting each other in our artistic endeavours is imperative, and GGHtG hopes to help facilitate.

June 3rd was the first annual, second-largest music festival on Haida Gwaii: the Chown Town Throw Down. Taking place just a few kilometres outside Masset, the mini music fest was a full day of local music (with the Alkemist and Big Fancy joining in from Fort Fraser). This was the first major event officially backed by GGHtG, and it was a resounding success—with just a donation jar at the door, the event brought in enough cash to pay every musician and even a few super volunteers.

Although not every event will be of the same magnitude, the ethics of GGHtG won’t change. Giving back to each musician that brings their craft to the table is the centre of the co-op’s vision.

GGHtG’s first AGM is slated for sometime this fall, and preliminary discussions of the third Guy Fawkes Yourself and the next Chown Town Throw Down have already begun. It’s an exciting time for music, and all that surrounds it, on Haida Gwaii. With the cooperative support of all these energetic, creative, inspired, and stoked individuals, it feels like anything is possible—you just have to help yourself.

— Pete Moore