The North Okanagan’s music scene is losing one of its hidden gems.
Lorenzo’s Cafe is closing its doors after hosting award-winning musical acts for the past 24 years.
“I dreamt it, I designed it and I built it,” says Lorenzo’s owner Lorne Costley.
Costley built the cafe out of an old school house from 1919 at 901 Mabel Lake Road, a short drive east of Enderby. He put major renovations into the building, including installing lanes form a bowling alley in Lumby to serve as the stage and dance floor.
“There’s still the bowling marks for placing the pins,” he says.
It was always a feat to run a music venue in such a remote area. With bands from all over the province – and the world – enjoying the spot for its superb acoustics and atmosphere, Costley defied the odds for many years, but he says the times have caught up with him.
“It’s a difficult challenge doing it out here, it’s not easy to get people out here in the woods,” Costley says. “It’s a beautiful place to live, and a hard place to make a living.”
For Costley, some nights it was a wonder that the music acts he brought in garnered so little attention.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m closing. I had an eight-piece killer band from Winnipeg playing here on a Thursday night in August, and there’s like six people in the audience.
“They don’t know about it or it’s just too far to drive or they have Netflix. It’s just the way of the world.”
Though the end has come to a great personal journey for Costley, he says he’ll look forward to having time to travel and woodwork, and he’ll cherish the memories he’s made.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and it’s been a great adventure and experience building and running it.”
Lorenzo’s still has time for a last hurrah or two. Costley has four more shows scheduled, the first being this Friday when a “guitar explosion” will hit the stage. Two groups – Sons of Bitumen and Guitar you Experienced – will join forces for a night of psychedelic, rock, blues, jazz, and anything else you can imagine.
After that, on October 11 an already sold-out show will feature Daniel Champagne, an Australian born guitarist who has been selling out shows around the world. On October 13 Lorenzo’s will host British rock and blues artist Michael Charles.
The grand finale is a a show with the Legendary Lake Monsters on Oct. 26 – a Halloween costume party with vocalists, a full band and a haunted-looking set.