As the old adage says, if you do what you love for work, money will follow. And while that may not always be the case, what is true is if you do what you love, you’ll likely always be passionate for your work.
“I love skateboarding and I love music,” said Chilliwack-native Deon Gallant. “And my friends and I were talking about it and kept imagining skateboards and live music. So one day I actually decided to put it together.”
For the third year in a row, 23-year-old Gallant is organizing Chilliwack’s Skate & Slam, a live event featuring a skateboarding competition and live music.
Gallant says the turnout for the first two years was really positive, but hopes this year’s offerings will kick it up a notch.
“This year we even have vendors,” said Gallant during a telephone interview with The Progress. “It’s got a lot of great stuff this year … including the Bucket Brigade Water Splash, which is kind of like a dunk tank, but instead of being dunked into a tank of water, you’re (splashed with water).”
Normally the event pulls in a couple hundred people during the course of the day, but this year Gallant says he hopes to increase that amount to at least 300.
Gallant, who graduated from Chilliwack Secondary School in 2013, is currently attending college in Ontario for event management, so much of this year’s Skate & Slam has been organized from across the country.
“My aunt told me, ‘You really need to go to college!’ and I love setting up events,” explained Gallant from Toronto.
“I used to be in a band … and I (was setting) up tours for the band at the same time I was (establishing) the Skate & Slam. I like the excitement of when it all comes together, so I went to school for it—I figured I could do this for a living.
“School helped me a lot. The teachers really coached me along on what I should do … and how to create a relationship with the brands I’m trying to get onboard with the event.”
And it’s working for Gallant. For the first time in the event’s history, it has sponsors who are helping to foot the bill: the previous years were paid for out of Gallant’s pocket.
“This year I made sponsorship packages telling businesses what they’d get if they put money into the event,” explained Gallant. “It really worked out as the leisure centre really wanted to get involved this year and they’ve known about it for the previous two years.”
The event, which takes place on July 21 at the Prospera Skatepark on Hodgins Avenue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., strives to create a unique experience to showcase an epic skate competition and live entertainment, added Gallant.
Performing throughout the day will be five different musical acts. “We’ll have some rock music, (some) punk music, (and even a) little bit of ska,” said the event’s planner.
And that’s in addition to the hundred or so skaters that are expected to show up and wow audiences with fakies, Mctwists, and catching air while carving a half-pipe.
“The Truth Skate (shop) is giving away prizes and are setting up the skate competition” for the third year in a row, Gallant said.
“There’s exposure when just signing up for the event … but there will also be promotions for the winner and prizes for things like best trick and most commitment to a trick.”
For more information, or to register for the event as a participant, vendor, or musical act, visit the Skate & Slam website at SkateNSlam.com.