June 19, 2018 Olivia Perreault
Alberta’s Needle Vinyl Tavern in Edmonton has been taken over by new management after sexual assault allegations and is transforming into a new music venue called The Station.
In November 2017, The Needle closed after a former employee stated in a post on social media that one of the venue’s owners groped her during an event earlier last year, according to The Star Edmonton. The employee, Brittany Lyne Rudyck, quit her job after the owners hired a man known for a history of harassing women, despite Rudyck’s concerns. Once her post started circulating online, bands began to cancel upcoming shows and the venue was forced to close just two days later.
The Star reports that this past April, one of the Needle’s three co-owners, James Leder, was charged with one count of sexual assault in relation to the incident in March 2017.
The building is now home to The Station and is owned and operated by Gregg Scott. He told The Star he hopes for a full calendar of live music.
“Our goal is to become the best live music venue in all of Western Canada,” Scott said. “Every great city has, at the heart of the city, a great live music venue that has great food. Edmonton needs that.”
A spokesperson for The Station confirmed that one of the Needle’s original owners is part of the building’s ownership team, but she said he will have no role in the management or operation of The Station. Along with Scott, the venue has three other owners, and none of them had involvement with the music scene within Edmonton before.
He recognizes that the music scene in the area will probably be hesitant to accept The Station with open arms, given its history. However, he said he hired third-party experts to train owners, management, and staff on how to create a respectful workplace, claiming they’re “looking at developing an entirely different culture.”
“I think Edmontonians have a choice,” Scott said. “I think we have a lot of great people that are pulling this thing together. I’m really proud of the team and how they’re handling things. I just hope that everyone judges them based on their own accord, because it’s a new business.”
The Station, which has a capacity of about 400 people, will serve lunch and dinner and will host live music throughout the week. It will also offer weekend brunches with live music and evening concerts, along with the Needle’s tradition of singers-songwriters hosting happy hour.
Today, the venue announced its opening weekend lineup which includes Edmonton artist Joe Nolan. He will be the first performer to take the stage at The Station on June 29, followed by Funkafeelya. Serena Ryder will perform on Saturday, June 30.
“We wanted an iconic Canadian act to help us open the space and we know Serena is going to make it a special night for Edmontonians,” Mark Chisholm, one of the venue’s managers, said in a press release.
The Station is located on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton, Alberta.