In Vancouver today (June 23), the music icon and promoter is celebrated with a city proclamation.
Mel Warner has brought culture, flavor and soul to the BC music scene since immigrating to Canada nearly 60 years ago.
And Vancouver is dedicated today (June 23) in his name.
Warner, a resident of Port Coquitlam, will be inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements as a promoter over the past 30 years for a diverse roster of musicians in the region.
“It gives me great joy to bring out and represent my Caribbean culture to my friends and the people of British Columbia,” Warner said in a 2019 statement from his company, Melo Productions.
He was announced with the class of 2019 along with four other pioneer members.
In 1964, he came to Canada with his family from Saint Kitts and Nevis, an island nation in the Caribbean east of Puerto Rico.
Warner is celebrated in local music circles as he used his talents to bring new sounds to BC’s Lower Mainland, especially Vancouver.
This includes paving the way for reggae, latin, world and ska recording artists to grow their fan base.
“It can be argued that Warner is single-handedly credited with broadening the city’s musical tastes, introducing new sounds and musical tastes by risking booking what might be largely unknown acts that didn’t have a local audience. “, reads his profile at the BC Entertainment Hall. from the Fame website.
“Night after night, Mel Warner produced programs that not only answered the growing thirst of local audiences for Caribbean music in the ’80s, but also introduced folk, rock, punk and jazz audiences to music that broadened and matured the tastes of Vancouver concert audiences”.
After its success in the 1980s, then-manager Drew Burns offered Warners to use the Commodore Ballroom as a venue for future shows.
Warner then created Melo Productions to present programs focused on diversity and multiculturalism.
He has also been a fixture on the local airwaves, fronting Caribbean sounds on Co-op radio for over 30 years with a two and a half hour weekly show on 100.5 FM.
Additionally, the city of Vancouver proclaims today as Mel Warner Day.
“Over the past four decades, Mel Warner, through his efforts as a concert promoter, has introduced new music and sounds to Vancouver’s multicultural tapestry and provided cultural spaces where Caribbean arts and culture are showcased through his events” says Mayor Kennedy Stewart in the proclamation.
Warner is one of 13 music industry icons in the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame class of 2019 (in alphabetical order):
- Bob Buckley – Composer and musician
- Colin James – seven-time Juno Award winner
- Karin Konoval – Film, television and theater actress.
- Emily Molnar – Artistic Director, Ballet BC
- Nardwuar – Media Personality
- Rick Scott – Musician and recording artist
- Joani Taylor – Jazz Vocalist
- Moira Walley-Beckett – Three-time Emmy Award-winning producer and actress
- Jeffrey Groberman – producer and writer
- Anna Hagan – actress and artistic director
- Terence Kelly – film, television and stage actor
- The Crump Twins: Legendary Artists of the 1940s
- Mel Warner – concert promoter