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Metlakatlan promoter plans big rock show for July

Julius Watts wants to bring a big production to his hometown as he grows sound and light business
Julius Watts, second from left, is planning a big rock festival for July in Prince Rupert. In the photo with Watts are (from left) Cindy Nguyen, Tanner (last name unknown) and Cody Ramano backstage during an event in Prince Rupert. (Contributed)

What started out as a DJ service is rapidly morphing into a full-scale live production enterprise for Prince Rupert’s Julius Watts.

Watts started Santana Sound and Lighting Productions last year with his girlfriend Cindy Nguyen in Prince George as a mobile DJ service catering to corporate events and weddings. To start, they had a few speakers and a handful of lights.

Now, with a brand new arena-ready sound system, professional lighting rig, 12ft by 20ft stage and 50ft by 22ft tall trussing system with multiple wings, he wants to bring it home to Prince Rupert on a large-scale with a two-day rock event at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre. He has dubbed it “Prince Rupert Rocks” and it is scheduled for July 19 and 20.

“We wanted to throw this event in Prince Rupert because then I could really show my family what it is that I do because a lot of people don’t understand it,” he said.

“Cindy also stays in Rupert during the summer with her family, so I need an excuse to visit her.”

The event has so far signed on numerous bands from Prince George, Terrace and Prince Rupert with more to come, Watts promised.

It is being co-sponsored by the Wheelhouse Brewing Company.

The lineup promises some variety with metal and alt-rock bands Infectious, Cynnical and Brainium along with punkers Hot Boii summer and singer-songwriters Ben Waechter and Scott La Pointe making up the Prince George contingent.

The Terrace area will be represented by rez-rockers Coastal Drifters from Kitselas.

Local bands, so far, include indie-rockers Somber Seas and the newly-formed blues-rock quintet JJ Sway.

Watts, who is a member of the Metlakatla Nation is proud that his company is 75 per cent Indigenous-owned and 25 per cent female-owned.

He has a 50 per cent stake with his father Gerald owning 25 per cent and Nguyen the other 25 per cent.

“This company wouldn’t be able to succeed without the two of them, they have had my back every step of the way even when things were extremely tough,” he said.

In Prince Rupert, Watts was known for his martial arts exploits, competing at a provincial level.

He moved to Prince George to be with Nguyen and study psychology at the College of New Caledonia.

He is currently taking a semester off to concentrate on the business, including what he is hoping will be a badass rock festival in his hometown.

He said Prince Rupert Rocks will be a trial run for both producing a big events and the new equipment.

Tickets for the event go on sale June 7 at Wheelhouse. Minors will be allowed if accompanied by a guardian.

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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