"Rock This Town" Documentary Screening

Friday, May 31, 2024 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)
Rock This Town documentary poster

Rock This Town brings to life the exciting history of rock music concerts in KW from the 1960s and 1970s. An insider’s look into the gritty reality of building the local live music scene. This 70-minute documentary features interviews with music business pros plus performances by today’s musicians. Rock stars come and go but live music is here to stay!

Rock This Town was produced by Betty Anne Keller (BA '69), who will join us for an exclusive Q&A chat. The late Joe Recchia (BASc '68, MASc '71) and other special guests are featured in the film.

Step back into Princess Cinemas and relive the music and memories that made history!

Screening Times:
4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

$10 to $15 per person, plus tax. Concessions extra.

Watch the Documentary Trailer

Remote video URL


Betty Anne Keller - Photo by Sara Geidlinger Photography

Betty Anne Keller
BA 1969, English

A vibrant and thriving Arts and Culture community is vital to the health and prosperity of our cities. Since her graduation from UW Arts in 1969, Betty Anne Keller has applied her passion for the arts first as a self-employed music promoter, and latterly as a municipal employee with the City of Waterloo to support, build and promote a strong, diverse, and visible community here in Waterloo Region. She champions and celebrates Arts & Culture in all its formats. Betty Anne worked as a live music promoter for live music events 70’s and 80’s bringing groups to the region that would normally not have been scheduled here. She founded and led the summer “School for the Performing Arts” for teens at the Centre in the Square from 1984 to 1989. She served the Creative Cities Network of Canada on the Board of Directors from 2007 to 2012 and as Board President from 2008 to 2011. She has worked with several touring Canadian musicians, including Rita MacNeil and Loreena McKennitt.  She has mentored numerous local artists and is currently volunteering with Ogo Tawa “Black to the Future-Statues of our Black Heroes-Community Arts Program” helping to create a welcoming and inclusive space for BIPOC artists in Canada.  Betty Anne’s most recent success was to produce the documentary film “Rock This Town” in 2022.  She continues to pursue her arts advocacy efforts in Waterloo and beyond. 

Featured guests in the documentary:

Joe Recchia

Joe Recchia 
BASc 1968, Chemical Engineering 
MASc 1971, Management Sciences and Systems Engineering 

Recchia never dreamed he’d become a concert promoter when he entered Waterloo Engineering in 1963. But when his love for music went unrequited in his new social setting, he took matters into his own hands and brought some of the era’s biggest pop stars to campus and the surrounding community.  

Ever heard of Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, the Bee Gees, Alice Cooper or Cat Stevens? Recchia had, probably long before you did. And he signed them all, plus others, to rock the town. “When you want me to get something done, I don’t know the word ‘can’t’,” the gregarious grandfather says.  

Campus life nearly six decades ago, Recchia recalls, didn’t offer much in the way of culture, and since nature abhors a vacuum of any kind, he filled it his own way. At first organizing engineering student dances, he persuaded popular Canadian acts like Little Caesar and the Consuls to come to Waterloo.  

And after he connected with New York City promoters, things really took off. Recchia had to deal with prima donnas like Ike Turner. But he got to party with Supertramp. He set up a circuit that brought megastars to 75 universities across Canada.  

And then in 1975 he moved on to an engineering career that eventually led him to a senior vice-president’s office with Michelin Canada. “I’ve had an incredible life,” Recchia says. 

Gary Stewart

Gary Stewart

When “The Beatles” landed on TV on February 9 1965 Gary Stewart was 8 years old and music was starting to drive the culture. Hairstyles, clothing, drugs, art and festivals were in constant flux. By 1973 he was revelling in the KW shows that he read about in Circus magazine or Rolling Stone. Universities, colleges and even local high schools were all providing live music. Driven to find a way to be involved, Gary entered the business program at Conestoga College and was soon booking talent as the entertainment programmer for the Doon Student Association. A fulltime position with the UW Federation of Students followed. Live Music was king. Grade 13 was still alive and most first year students were of legal drinking age. His venues included Village Pubs, South Campus Hall, the Bombshelter pub – and later Bingemans and Waterloo Inn. In 1984, Fed Hall opened with a kitchen, bar, 1000 seats, 20 x 40 ‘ stage , in-house PA. The team were off to the races. In 1985, “The Clash” sold out at the PAC, and on the high of this success Gary left UW to begin a 30-year career as the owner, operator of his own  multi use venue – Super Skate Seven. Later to be known as The Twist, The Vid, The Flying Dog, Revolution, and Pearl. A key player in the local music scene, he provides this perspective on the music business: “It’s not always about the numbers. It’s about community, sharing experiences and making this world a better place for everyone. Never lose your heart. Never lose your soul. Arts and culture bring us together. Carry on.”