Alessandro De Luca
How Doug Miller is bringing live music back to the West Island.
Les Spectacles de la Promenade will host musicians from all genres, including various Juno award winners.
There is no denying the powerful impact of live music. Whether you are a musician rocking out on stage, or a fan singing along to your favorite song, attending a music concert is an experience that everyone can enjoy. Although the Covid-19 pandemic put most events on hold, West Islanders can finally enjoy live music again thanks to Les Spectacles de la Promenade, a 10-week event which started in June and lasts until September 1 on the St-Anne-de-Bellevue Boardwalk. West-Island’s very own Doug Miller has been the man responsible for producing this event since 2011.
Doug Miller’s music career dates back to the 1970s. After studying music at Vanier College and Concordia University, Doug began giving guitar lessons, which he continues to do today. “Everything I do is related to music,” said Doug. “I made that decision in 1990. To stop all other sources of income.”
Doug eventually started his own production company, Productions Douglas W. Miller, and began event planning. It wasn’t long before he caught the attention of the city. “I’ve been producing a fundraiser along with Ian Gray every December called the Solstice Jam, which is over 30 years old. We were initially giving the proceeds to the Gazette Christmas Fund, and Sun Youth,” explained Miller. “About 12 years ago, we decided to start giving all the money to the St-Anne de Bellevue food bank.”
This turned some heads in the area. “We ended up giving them about 40,000 dollars over the last 12 years, and all the money goes to the food bank. Nobody else gets paid. I think it was on that that the town finally said ‘let’s hire Doug to book the show’. I basically took the Spectacles de la Promenade from being a small show to a weekly event where we can get around 300-400 people on the boardwalk.”
This year’s event features various artists of all genres, including Juno award nominees and winners Sonia Johnson, Kim Richardson, Marianne Trudel, and Karen Young.
“If people come, they should bring their chairs and their masks, and try to social distance as much as possible.” Said Doug, who continued to express how St-Anne’s has many professional musicians for such a small town.
Doug himself will be performing on July 17 at the St-Anne-de-Bellevue market, playing background ambient music. “It’s going to be my first gig in a year and a half, so it’s a bit of a strange feeling,” said Doug, jokingly laughing.
Doug's contributions to the city have benefited musicians all over the West Island. Since the Covid-19 pandemic took away over a year of events, it is nice to have some live music again.