The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Club is one of, if not the longest running jazz club in Toronto, and possibly Canada. It is a wonderful place I used to spend a lot of time in, got to know the staff, owners, and many of the musicians that perform there. Located right in the heart of downtown Toronto and featuring everything from trad jazz, to big band, to fusion, to who-the-heck-knows, it attracted all sorts of folks. I’ve witnessed it full of people in CFL jerseys waiting for the Grey Cup, or tables all stacked for a dance floor, and having lineups around the corner for some out-of-town acts.
The Rex’s website needed a bit of a redesign. They’d renovated the club, and the hotel upstairs, and now it was the website’s turn. In large part it was a case of making a responsive site (which is just standard these days), but also making data entry easy, while integrating familiar tools. And cutting some costs down too!
Historical Data + New Design
The Rex had years and years of performer data. 80 shows per month, 12 months a year… that adds up!
To display the calendar correctly, it was required to go through over 50,000 lines of data to clean up formatting errors!
Keeping Some Elements
Sometimes on a redesign it’s best to keep certain things from the old site. The Rex’s logo was one of those things. Another holdover was the colour scheme. Their colours are attached to most design collateral, these colours were very important:
Retaining the old logo meant keeping fonts very similar, which made life just a bit easier!
The Rex’s mailing list was getting to be almost 3K subscribers. This meant their MailChimp account wasn’t free anymore – even after cleaning some subscribers it was around $60/month. I stumbled upon Pabbly. The free tier is up to 5K subscribers! I had to connect this to AWS though. With the data they use on AWS, I think they’re saving just about $59/month!
The Events Calendar
The Events Calendar (TEC) from Modern Tribe was pretty close to what they needed for their calendar. I wrote a front-end JS + WP REST API powered form that enables The Rex to add/delete multiple shows at once, without using the pro plugin. (Sorry, Modern Tribe!) This front-end form also de-cluttered the sheer amount of unnecessary options that TEC has in the back end.
Project URL: https://therex.ca