Fire destroys Twillingate music and TV studio, but owner vows to push forward –

Mike McDonald, owner of 618 Entertainment Inc., stands over what used to be his studio. The studio was destroyed in a fire Friday night. (Submitted by Mike McDonald)

The building housing a prominent Twillingate multimedia company was destroyed by a fire Friday night, but the company’s owner says the show must go on.

Mike McDonald, owner of 618 Entertainment Inc., said he was working with clients in the area when he got the call about a fire at the building that quickly spiralled out of control.

“A couple hours later, I got a phone call saying that my studio had been levelled. Just completely everything destroyed … the fire just ravaged through the whole building,” McDonald told CBC Radio’s Weekend AM on Saturday.

“I’m standing looking at where my studio used to be. Now I’m standing at just a big pile of rubble.”

McDonald said everything inside the building was lost, from a full post-production studio with top of the line gear to a TV set that was being used to film a show with Rogers Television to his own projects.

“Things are just things, they can be replaced. But for me, all of my backups and archives … all of my recordings, a new album I was working on, that is gone,” he said.

A before and after shot of the 618 Entertainment studio. McDonald said nothing was salvageable from the fire. (Submitted by Mike McDonald)

“Everything I’ve worked on over the past two decades is gone.”

Like most entertainment companies over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, McDonald said the business has had to change to stay afloat at times. He made the switch from producing live concerts to producing live streams last year, and also works to promote local music and art.

“I do my best to do my little part to get people work in Newfoundland. I’ve been doing that for years now, and it’s just taken a little bit of a step back I guess,” he said.

“We still are making an effort to keep the arts alive during all of this COVID craziness. So this is just another bump in the road.”

Although the studio was destroyed, McDonald said he will continue his work in the region using locally sourced gear. (Submitted by Mike McDonald)

Even with the loss of his studio, McDonald said he hopes to continue using locally sourced gear, and help from the local music community.

“I’ve been doing it for 20 years here. I’ve made some really great friends and colleagues in the industry. I’ve done a lot of shows and tried my best to help those bands. And now … they’re reaching out and trying to do what they can to help me get back on my feet, which I’m eternally grateful for.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador