• Trevor Greenway

Kaffe Open Stage returns!

And Wednesday nights in Wakefield just got so much better.


Music fans have been waiting over two years for the return of what can arguably be called the Hills’ best music night — and on June 29 that wait will finally be over. Kaffe 1870’s Open Stage is back.


And Kaffe 1870 co-owner Leigh Irvine said she can’t wait to get down and dirty again.

“It has been well over two years since we have been able to be our true selves,” she told the Low Down. “In the darkest of days, all I have wanted is to be in the middle of our hot, sticky, stinky, sweaty dance floor again, so I might be more excited than anyone to have people dance again.”


The last true dance party on that bouncy Kaffe floor was New Year’s Eve in 2020, when Wakefield band Pat-O-Mat unknowingly rocked revellers into what would become two of most difficult years most of us have ever seen. It’s no secret that Kaffe – along with most Hills businesses – struggled through pandemic restrictions. But the bar is slowly finding its footing — with the return of David Irvine’s Bad High School Dance on June 25, Matthew Falvai’s Sunday croon sessions on June 26 and a list of rock, folk and DJ nights lined up for the summer.


“We have cautiously eased our way back towards what should be normal,” added Irvine. “I will tell you, our work-life is fun again and reincorporating live music and DJ nights again is going to make it even better. I cannot wait to dance.”


In previous years, Open Stage featured a rotating cast of performers – a new local host each week – who ran the stage and sound, filled in any performance gaps and fired up the crowd. This summer, the regular host will be Wakefield guitarist Greg Stone, who said he expects to be in the audience more than he is on stage.


“Grab your guitars and a few friends and get in here,” said Stone. “This open stage is immensely important for our local music scene.”


Those who have been jammed inside Kaffe 1870 during those epic Wednesdays would agree that Open Stagehas always been a “part of the fabric” of the community. From the early days when the late, great Louis Rompre ran the show, to pre-pandemic hump days when Rompre’s son Shawn and a roster of rotating players would trade off hosting duties, Kaffe’s fabled weekly music night has always been a place for emerging talent to gain the confidence they need to play live. But more than that, it has become a place for some of the region’s top musicians to get together and jam.


Hills music greats like Ian Tamblyn, Alise Marlane and John McAlpine regularly show up for a pint and a pluck. Ottawa-Montreal band Half Moon Run even showed up for an impromptu concert not once, but twice during Kaffe Open Stage.


“[Open Stage] is a vital part of the fabric of the music community in Wakefield and it's been sorely missed over the last two years — both by me and the many and varied artists who attend regularly,” added Stone.


Kaffe 1870 Open Stage returns at 8 p.m. on June 29.