Yellow Door turns 40

Yellow Door turns 40 McGill University

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McGill Reporter
September 27, 2007 - Volume 40 Number 03
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Yellow Door turns 40

Folk musician Rob Lutes remembers the first time he played at the Yellow Door in the early 1990s. "It's just this little basement with 30 people sitting on hard wooden chairs," he laughed. "But I was so nervous I couldn't talk to anyone all day." Since then, the award-winning singer/songwriter has played in front of thousands of people around North America.

But on Sept. 29, Lutes will be making a homecoming of sorts as pays tribute to the little basement that kicked-off his career as part of the venerable coffeehouse’s 40th anniversary concert.

Beginning on Sept. 28, the two-day celebration of Montreal’s quirkiest music venue will feature more than 20 performers and will also serve as a fund-raiser for the non-profit organization’s many charitable enterprises. With ties to the McGill Chaplaincy Service, the Yellow Door runs a variety of community programs, including its Elderly Project that brings together more than 100 volunteers to visit some 200 elderly people. “We’re hoping to put money back in so we can keep going,” says Holly Fleming, Coffeehouse Coordinator.

With its low ceiling, uneven floor and battered wooden chairs, the coffeehouse hardly looks like an iconic music venue. However, the list of Yellow Door alumni is a veritable Who’s Who of the folk scene. Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Cockburn, Jessie Winchester and Stan and Garnet Rogers are just some of the luminaries who have graced the stage (or lack thereof).

For Lutes there is no mystery why musicians love to play here. “There’s no booze, no latte machines and the audience is sitting almost on top of you. You can’t hide like you can in a bar, so it lays everything bare. It’s about the most honest listening experience around.”

For more information about concert times, go to www.yellowdoor.org/coffeehouse.html.

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