A CONVERSATION WITH ED SOUSA, DIRECTOR OF CLASSIC BOWL
The 1980s and bowling: two things that go together like fish and chips. In fact, rock ‘n’ roll and bowling have been married since rock ‘n’ roll was born. But Ed Sousa, Director of Classic Bowl in Mississauga, has taken this concept one step further. This is the fourth year that Sousa has brought together bands, bowling, conversation, and cookies. The 4th Annual Intimate And Interactive, 2019 – 2020 series has been announced, and it is a fantastic lineup.
November 3 – A Flock of Seagulls
November 24 – Images In Vogue
January 26, 2020 – China Crisis/Rational Youth
February 23, 2020 – Bill Henderson of Chilliwack
March 29, 2020 – Strange Advance
April 26, 2020 – Grapes Of Wrath
May 3, 2020 – Secret Show (says Sousa, “No one will know who that act is until they walk on stage that night!”).
For Sousa it is about the music, but it is about a lot more than that — and the artists seem to agree.“We donate all the ticket money to the charity of the artist’s choice. So, for example, A Flock Of Seagulls are performing this Sunday, and their charity of choice is Operation Smile, so we donate all the funds collected that night.”
There is more to The Classic Bowl than just watching bands perform.“We design a custom guitar for the show, wood rustic sign, every ticket purchased everyone receives a customized cookie, which no one has ever done. So we put the band’s image on a cookie. It is the only concert series where you can interact with the artist. You can ask questions between songs.”
Sousa views the interaction between the performer and the audience as critical. “The person I have to thank for this is Randy Bachman, of all people. I do a major executive function every year. Back in 2012, I took them to see Randy Bachman, and it was one of his storytelling tours. And I am listening to all of this, and I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I had the opportunity, or anyone else sitting here, had the opportunity to ask Randy a follow up question or any question in general. So it permeated my brain cells for a while and I thought I have to make it more intimate, I only allow 100 people to attend, so that way you get the intimacy. The audience has the opportunity to ask the artist questions, make it interactive.”
Sousa comes by this work honestly. Growing up and working in Brampton when CFNY was in its heyday certainly had an impact on him musically. The rest is Sousa’s view of life.“I have always had a passion for music. Plus, I think, it is always about the greater good. We are put on this earth, not necessarily for ourselves, so if we can assist someone along the way…I am a firm believer in that. And by allowing the artists to choose their charities, it brings many charities to light.”
Word has spread across North America. Mike Score of A Flock Of Seagulls has proposed that Sousa help bring this format to the U.S. Others have made similar suggestions.“Brian Greenway of April Wine, can you bring this to Montreal, because we don’t have anything like this. We had Harlequin last November and Prism and both said you got to bring this out to Winnipeg, you got to bring this to Vancouver.”
The shows and approach have been very successful. Every show, including the ‘Surprise Show’ is sold out, however, there are more to come. Sousa is already planning next year’s shows. Stay tuned for information on many great classic rock and 1980s artists. Did someone mention Spandau Ballet?
The last word goes to Sousa. He is not in the business of booking concerts, and it is much more to him. According to Sousa, “anyone can put a show together, but I am about creating experiences”.