Vancouver, BC – The BC Entertainment Hall of Fame (BCEHOF) today announced that Vancouver concert promoter Mel Warner would be one of the twelve 2019 inductees to the BCEHOF. The inductees come from the world of music, dance, theatre and film/television who will join the 275+ previous inductees who have been recognized for their significant contribution to the province’s entertainment industry and cultural landscape.
Mel Warner was born in St. Kitts in the Caribbean and immigrated with his family to Vancouver in 1964. For over 30 years as a concert promoter, Warner has pioneered the way for reggae, ska, Latin and world music to Vancouver stages. Warner can arguably be single-handedly credited for widening the musical tastes of the city, introducing new sounds and musical tastes by taking chances on booking what might be largely unknown acts that had no local audience. Night by night, Warner and his company Melo Productions produced concerts ranging from Toots and the Maytals, The Wailers, Burning Spear, Morgan Heritage, Byron Lee & The Dragonaires, Stephen Marley, Damian Marley, and many others—he also helped foster the local reggae music scene adding such groups as the Soul Survivors, Small Axe, Fire Temple, and Tropical Breeze by adding them as opening acts to his concert bills.
Warner’s success might have been no mean feat in another Canadian city like Toronto which possessed a larger Caribbean community as an audience base, but in Vancouver with a much smaller scene, Warner has been perhaps an unsung hero for the amount of not only reggae, but also African and Latin world music he’s had a hand in introducing to Vancouver audiences.
Not satisfied to simply be a presence in the music scene. He has also been a fixture on the local airwaves, at the helm of the programme Caribbean Sounds on Co-op radio for over 30 years. You can catch his weekly two and a half hour show on 100.5 FM on Saturday night’s at 8:30pm. Due to the fact that Mel often has a concert he is running on a Saturday night, he often pre-records the show allowing him to be in two places at once. On the airwaves, and in the local dance halls and night clubs!
Warner has been the recipient of many awards, the Co-op radio Caribbean Music award in 1996, the Windies Cricket Club award in 1993, awarded by the Barbados Cultural Association acknowledging his support for the organization. He was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation at the Opening of Black History month in association with Urban Pulse in 2004.
What some might not know is Warner is equally dedicated to health and wellness and has been a marathon runner for 15 years, raising funds for cancer research. He has a little known annual ritual—doing a 10K run around Stanley Park every New Years Day. As part of the Turtles running group in New Westminster, Mel along with assistance of a dozen other professionals, leads a running group with young people every Sunday. The group is engaged in mentoring, motivating, and inspiring young people to excellence.
Mel’s motivation is to continue to contribute to his community, and his desire is for the wider community to both learn about and embrace Caribbean culture. As a trail-blazer in the concert production business as promoter, he brought many tours to Vancouver that would have not otherwise come to our city. In turn, many of these acts did not go on to other cities in western Canada because there was no “local Mel Warner” acting as the boots on the ground to make those shows happen. Vancouver perhaps doesn’t realize how fortunate we’ve been to have Mr. Warner in our city. He has added music, colours, sounds, and along with it widened the tastes of our multicultural city like no other Vancouver concert promoter has.