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Students get a taste of nightclubbing without the booze

Last Sunday evening, over 220 Grade 12 students from the Comox Valley had a taste of nightclubbing – without the alcohol.

GTN (Grade Twelve Night) was put on by Bridge Lounge owner Nicola Webb in response to an idea proposed by some Grade 12 parents.

Very aware of the recent sad events amongst the youth of the Valley, Webb had been considering a ‘dry event’ at her premises to give the youth somewhere to go where they could enjoy music and socialize with their peers. Approached with similar thoughts by Grade 12 parents Julie Watkins, Tracey McGinnis and Tara Laderoute, the idea took flight.

The result was a ‘dry’ evening at the Bridge Lounge on Fifth Street in Courtenay, for over 220 Grade 12 students. They danced to local DJs Joe and Gibson, Chiba and were entertained by rap artists Fatty Down and Lil Bit from Nanaimo.

Tickets were sold in advance and all students had to show I.D. when purchasing the tickets and at the door. A special licence was obtained to have a ‘dry’ event; ‘mocktails’, soft drinks and snacks were available for the clubbers. Much to the organizers’ delight, the event —which ran from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., went without a hitch and was very well received by the students.

“It was a little worrying that the students would respect the rules and that we could keep it exclusive, but the students responded very well,” Webb said. “It was great to have the help of the parents to screen the tickets sales and I’m looking forward to hearing more from the students as to what they want at the next event.

“We have already pencilled in two dates — Feb. 6 and April 1 — after checking the school district calendar to ensure there is no conflict with class days or events.”

Julie Watkins, a Highland parent, added “It is the age-old complaint that youth have nothing to do at the weekends. We just wanted to give the Grade 12s an opportunity to have a club experience, which they wouldn’t normally get until they are 19.

“Equally important was for them to see that having fun isn’t reliant on alcohol or other stimulants. Music is a big part of youth culture; it is a shame that with the wealth of music in the Valley, they rarely get the opportunity to experience it in a venue other than outdoor concerts.”

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