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Review: A Night Out at Rosthern

Updated: May 13, 2023

by Deanna Roos

pics by Deanna Roos Photography

L to R: stand up bassist Stephen Williams, guitarist Joel Rohs and frontman Jake Vaadeland

Yes, you read that headline right. A night out at Rosthern is a thing. Today we’re going to talk about small-town Saskatchewan and in particular one of my favorite venues - The Station Arts Centre Co-operative in Rosthern, Sk. It’s a beautifully renovated old railroad station that is now a burgeoning stopping place for visual and aural artists. The surrounding streets are quiet with quaint storefronts which feels like a peaceful refuge for the city soul.

On top of a classic theatre space, the coffee house portion of the venue serves as a gallery showcasing revolving artists. I always grab a foo-foo coffee with an Italian name like Latte or Cappuccino but they also offer craft beer, wine, lemonade, baked goodies, and charcuterie boards (which in rural SK where I grew up we referred to as a meat and cheese platter).

If full-scale dinner and a show is your thing, there is a cute little pub across the street with amazing smells wafting out. Haven’t been there yet, but it’s on my list…

Jake Vaadeland and the Sturgeon River boys packed out The Station's Theatre space

But, the question remains…on this particular Thursday in the middle of September, what brought over 100 people from across Saskatchewan to Rosthern causing The Station to sell out the theatre space? Jake Vaadeland and the smartly clothed men playing the guitar-fiddle, bass-fiddle, and steel-fiddle (better known as The Sturgeon River Boys). Jake has been gaining momentum with his unique old-timey sound and look. A lovely couple who came in from Humboldt for the show put it best: “Watching Jake makes them feel like they’ve been transported back to the 1940s”. Putting aside the well crafted experience provided to the audience including retro suits and stage jokes, the caliber of musicianship shown by the whole band was top notch.

Multi-instrumentalist Jake Vaadeland. People came from as far away as Humboldt to see him perform.

I can’t help but give some notable nods: To the steel guitar player Justin Bloudoff whose smile radiated genuine enjoyment for the evening and to Steve Williams on bass whose feet didn’t seem to stop moving. You guys reminded me as to why live music will always be worth the time and money.

After the show, as is customary, we stopped at the expansive Co-op Gas Station for some road snacks (gas optional, but Rosthern has some of the cheapest gas around). The trip home provides time for connection, lively discussion on music and life, belting out “Ironic” like it’s 1996 and you’re in an Alanis Morissette video, whatever floats your boat – you be you. Helpful hint to those who have children - it’s okay to throw away all the wrappers so your kids don’t see them. You know the saying…what happens on the road from Rosthern, doesn’t need to turn into a treatise on the inequity of treats between adults and children.

So, next time there is an opportunity, grab your car keys and your people, get out of the city and head for a night out at Rosthern.

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