The Aviary: A Big Year On the Horizon
The Muz brothers are making an investment in the arts and in the community with their venue.
The Aviary is a venue located in the old “Tiffany’s Bird Shop” on Norwood Avenue at 9314 111 Avenue. Online reviews rave about the eclectic live events including music, art, and spoken word, as well as the incredible staff, selection of drinks, and cozy atmosphere.
When Philip Muz, one of The Aviary’s co-owners along with his brother Mark, was evicted from his previous venue, The Artery, by the City of Edmonton in March of 2015, he had no place to hold live music shows. “I really enjoy doing this kind of work, so it seemed that this was the next step,” he says. “We could continue providing a space for live music and art here. I was very aware of this building and had been in it a few times as a kid. I had this distrust of commercial landlords and we had no success finding a venue anywhere in the downtown core. We saw this place for sale. We liked the whole appeal of owning the property. We wanted to show the community that we were making a real investment in the arts and the community. We are not some flash in the pan.”
Muz says his biggest challenge with running a live music and arts venue in this area is the parking ban due to its proximity to the Commonwealth Stadium. He hopes there is a solution that can be made with the City. “We simply cannot be open when there is a parking ban. We do live entertainment here and most of the acts are touring acts. They come with big vans and trailers and buses and they need to park out front. If there is a parking ban I have to send them three or four blocks away. And anyone who wants to come to the show can’t park. Though most of our patrons take transit, bike, and Uber, not having the option to park is really hard. That is my biggest challenge by a country mile,” he says.
In the future, Muz plans to revamp a festival he held four times before the pandemic, most recently in 2019, called, “Groovy Times.” “It’s a very eclectic, genre-diverse music, art, and poetry festival.” A number of other notable shows are on the horizon.
“It’s going to be a really big year and it’s going to be busy. We will be open a lot,” says Muz, who describes The Aviary as “an accessible, easygoing, diverse venue. There is a little bit of something for everybody here. We try to be a safer space and try to be as inclusive as possible.”
You can get info on upcoming events and buy tickets on The Aviary’s website www.the-aviary.net. Be sure to check out this local establishment which supports the arts community here in Edmonton.
Corine Demas is the president of the Heart of the City Festival. She lives in McCauley.