Over 9 years, Vancestock has raised over $290,000. This has allowed for dozens of at risk inner city youth to enter the “Four Seasons, Four Years, For Life” programme – a unique, outdoor, adventure-based programme that supports youth through experiential learning, skill development, high school credits, bursaries and mentorship. Trails challenges and equips vulnerable youth to become contributing members of the community.
Vancestock founder Vance Cooper, a principal at Cooper Mediation Inc., has had a life-long affection for summer camps and a firm belief that they provide a place for young people to learn, grow and flourish. In discovering Trails Youth Initiatives, he decided to create Vancestock as a way to combine this passion and belief with his love of live, local music and his desire to support Toronto’s diverse community.
In 2019, for the first time ever, the Cambridge Club crowned Vance Cooper “Cambridge Club Gentleman of the Year” – an accolade bestowed upon a Member that best exemplifies what the Cambridge Club is all about. Read more HERE
Think back to the mid-1980s – if you’re old enough to remember them. Michael Jackson moonwalked his way into superstardom, the Breakfast Club taught kids everywhere that serving detention could give you a real education, and a fresh-faced articling student named Vance Cooper was eagerly heading to his desk when he was stopped by one of the office secretaries.
“My brother-in-law’s band is playing some bar on Queen Street and we need to put bodies in the seats,” she explained. “Would you like to come out?”
Vance Cooper continues the story...
“Sure,” I said, not knowing who her brother-in-law or the band was but looking forward to a night out nonetheless. The secretary was right – they really did need to put bodies in the seats as the room was all-but empty. One older couple danced along to country-inspired rock music and we sat back and enjoyed the show. I had no way of knowing that the band, Blue Rodeo, featuring the secretary’s brother-in-law, Jim Cuddy, would go on to become one of Canada’s most successful bands while I would forever be able to tell people “I saw them before they became famous!”
Fast forward 30 years and my love for live music had only grown. While watching a show put on by a band that included a friend’s son, Great Bloomers, I began to think to myself: “Wouldn’t it be great to find some young bands and introduce them to a new audience? Wouldn’t it be great to help the “next” Blue Rodeo get some exposure?” I thought I might use this idea to put on a big party for my friends, family, clients and anyone else who loves the feeling of hearing a band play live music.
While it would be a fun time, I thought we might use this opportunity to give back to the community by supporting a charity. By covering all the expenses myself, anyone who came to this event could donate to a charity knowing 100% of the proceeds would go directly to that charity.
But who to support? I have a special affinity for summer camps, and when I learned of the great work of Trails Youth Initiative, it was a very easy decision.
The very first Vancestock at the Horseshoe Tavern in 2012 was a night I’ll always remember. My daughter and I had seen a band called “The Stone Sparrows,” at the Toronto Jazz Festival that summer and we were blown away by their music and performance. Following a chance meeting with the band members, as they mingled in the crowd, I extended an invitation for them to perform as Vancestock’s opening act. They brought all the magic of their Jazz Fest performance – and then some – to Vancestock and the audience knew right away they were in for a special night.
Fast forward four years to the summer of 2016. While looking for my third act for Vancestock V, I thought back to the power and beauty of The Stone Sparrows’ performance.
Unfortunately, the band had since parted ways but singer Meghan Patrick’s career kept ascending. She had moved to Nashville to further hone her craft and I knew she was going places – including releasing a critically acclaimed album called Grace & Grit earlier this year. I still had her mother’s email and decided to reach out to her to see if she might do the show. Within 24 hours, that email was passed to Meghan’s agent, we spoke, and we had our featured performer for Vancestock V.
For the moment, rising star Meghan Patrick is the closest I have come to recreating the “Blue Rodeo scenario” I dreamed about. Although I certainly cannot take any credit for her success, I’m so happy Vancestock is a part of her story.
This year's Vancestock X takes place on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Doors open at 1 pm and the show will run from 2 pm until about 5pm EDT (including a post-concert campfire, singsong and s’mores).
Vancestock X will be a day of music and charity fundraising which will take place outdoors in a COVID-friendly, physically distant camp setting in compliance with the applicable health and safety requirements.
Vancestock X will be headlined by Dione Taylor, nominated for a Juno in the blues category and winner of the Blues & Roots Radio International Album Of The Year Award for her record Spirits in the Water. Dione is a Toronto-based artist who hails from Saskatchewan.
In addition, appearing will be Ian Janes – a talented artist, songwriter and producer from Nova Scotia. He writes and performs pop songs that are deeply influenced by soul, R&B and jazz. One of Ian’s songs “Can’t Remember Never Loving You” was prominently featured in the TV show “Nashville” as performed by the show’s two stars.
The opening act, back for their ninth consecutive Vancestock, are a group of wonderfully talented musicians – Sisters & Brothers (Logan Cooper and Jessica Charendoff and their siblings).
Date: Saturday, September 18, 2021
Time: Doors will open at 1 pm
Showtime: 2-5 pm
Location: Trails Youth Initiatives
Address: 15599 Warden Avenue, Stouffville, ON L4A 2M9
Special Note: BYOC and B (Bring Your Own Chair and Beverages)
Register To Attend: trails.ca/ways-to-support/events/vancestock-x