menu Blog

Live From City Hall reveals Nathan Phillips Square summer schedule

July 6th, 2016


Since January 2016, the City of Toronto has been celebrating the original sounds of Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods with the Live From City Hall concert series in the building’s rotunda.

The free concert series, in partnership with TD and Music Canada, has showcased an eclectic mix of nearly 20 local artists and bands including folk duo The Young Novelists, Ghana-born multi-instrumentalist Kobèna Aquaa-Harrison, country trio Runaway Angel, and many more Toronto-based acts.

Beginning tomorrow at 12:30 PM, Live From City Hall will move outside to Nathan Phillips Square with a performance from reggae band The Fugitive Minds, hosted by music reporter and media personality Rudy Blair.

For the duration of the summer, a local Toronto act will grace the outdoor stage every Thursday (except July 21) for a lunch hour performance, including a UNITY Charity showcase on July 14 and banjo-driven roots artist Hannah Shira Naiman on July 28. The rest of the schedule will be announced in the coming days.

Visit the City of Toronto‘s website for more information on Live From City Hall, and the Music 311 initiative.

How Field Trip’s response to a severe weather evacuation shows Toronto’s growth as a Music City

June 14th, 2016

Soul singer Charles Bradley at Field Trip 2016 following the rain delay.

Just before 3PM on Sunday, June 5, 2016, Field Trip Music & Arts festival staff made a stage announcement and published an urgent Facebook note regarding the suspension of Day 2’s scheduled acts due to an incoming severe thunderstorm.

Festival attendees were evacuated from the site and told to seek shelter, while those gearing up to head to Fort York & Garrison Common were encouraged to stay home. Word immediately began to spread across social media as the storm approached, and thousands of music fans were left wondering how the day would unfold.

What happened next stands as a testament to the City of Toronto’s commitment to growing as a Music City and the guidelines laid out in the Toronto Music Strategy.

“We always put public safety first and foremost,” said Robert Kerr, Supervisor of Special Events at Fort York and the City of Toronto. At around 2PM Sunday, Kerr was made aware of the situation by Field Trip organizers closely monitoring the weather patterns, who had detected electrical activity with the impending storm.

The decision to postpone the festival was made around 2:30PM, with the official announcement coming shortly after. Evacuees took shelter in surrounding Fort York sites, and were treated to surprise performances from Kevin Drew and Dear Rouge.

Following the evacuation, festival staff immediately began rescheduling the evening’s set times in accordance with the festival’s permit of a 10PM curfew. While the City’s noise bylaw allows for an 11PM curfew, the Fort York curfew is set at 10PM as a courtesy to the surrounding residents.

As Kerr and the Fort York staff began floating the idea of requesting a half-hour curfew extension, Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina Councillor Mike Layton reached out offering his assistance with the process.

“I agreed with the proactive decision to delay the performance and thought it was the responsible thing to do,” said Councillor Layton, who is also a member of Toronto Music Advisory Council. “I offered a brief extension to the noise permit to help facilitate their program.”

At 4:45PM, Field Trip published a revised schedule, and gates were reopened by 5:30.

“We were always intending to bring the festival back,” said Aaron Miller, Arts & Crafts‘ Manager of Events & Programming, noting that the curfew extension allowed his team flexibility in the rescheduling process. “The City was very supportive and made the most of the situation we were in.”

Kerr and Layton agree that the curfew extension was an extraordinary circumstance, and a lot of credit is due for Field Trip organizers and staff. “One way for us to help deliver as good a show as possible was to extend the curfew,” said Kerr. “We hope in hindsight, and given context, that residents [who’ve submitted noise complaints] appreciate the rationale.”

“Field Trip has quickly become one of Toronto’s signature music experiences.,” said Councillor Layton. “They have managed to capture all that is amazing about Toronto and condensed it into two days at Fort York.”

With the 2016 edition of the festival, Field Trip has also managed to capture the City of Toronto’s support for the local music community, outdoor festivals, and the growth of the Music City initiative.

Beatlemania revisited – Toronto celebrates 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ final Toronto show

June 9th, 2016

Music fans of all ages will have the chance to relive the madness and glory of the Beatles era, and witness the lasting impact they’ve had on this city. Toronto was the only Canadian city in which the Beatles performed every year they visited North America, between 1964 and 1966. The Beatles played six times in Toronto and, as such, the city has been dubbed the epicenter of Beatlemania in Canada.

August 17th, 1966, was the final Toronto performance by the Beatles. To mark the 50th anniversary of this piece of Toronto music history, the City of Toronto Museums & Heritage Services, along with artists, collectors, and sponsors are coming together to bring you BEATLES 50 T.O.

Photo copyright: John Rowlands, via City of Toronto website

“I was lucky enough to see the Beatles perform at Maple Leaf Gardens in the summer of 1966, and 50 years later, Beatlemania lives on,” said Mayor John Tory. “BEATLES 50 T.O. supports the City’s new Toronto Music Strategy by celebrating our music history in creative and collaborative ways. I encourage Torontonians to hop on the yellow submarine and celebrate one of the most iconic bands in music history.”

BEATLES 50 T.O. features two special anniversary concerts. Classic Albums Live: Beatles 1966, on August 17th, marks the Beatles last Toronto show, 50 years to the day. An A-list collection of musicians from across Canada will recreate the final set, plus a few more Beatles favourites. The show takes place in the Mattamy Athletics Centre, the former site of Maple Leaf Gardens, where the Beatles gave Toronto a final send-off in 1966.

The Massey Hall Band plays the Beatles is a free reinvention of the Beatles’ songbook by acclaimed jazz players. This open-air concert will be held in the heart of Toronto at Yonge-Dundas square, and begins at 8pm on Friday, August 19th.

Two walking tours, developed by music historian Nicholas Jennings, revisit the rocking heydays of Yorkville and the Yonge Street Strip. A third walking tour, created by Piers Hemmingsen, called “When the Beatles Rocked Toronto” examines the Beatles’ connection to the city through stories and locations.

A free outdoor film screening of A Hard Day’s Night on August 25th, and a Beatles inspired fashion show during Toronto Men’s Fashion Week keep the BEATLES 50 T.O. love flowing throughout the summer.

For a complete listing of events, visit To follow along on social media, use the hashtag #Beatles50TO.

Mayor announces new Arts and Music in Parks permit

May 30th, 2016


Great Heart Festival 2015 in Trinity Bellwoods Park

Earlier this afternoon, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced a new ‘Arts and Music in Parks’ permit, which will make it easier to animate the city’s parks with small-scale art and music performances. The new permit, which is available throughout the summer months, is intended to reduce red tape by creating a new, free permit category with expedited and simplified processing.

The announcement was made in Christie Pits Park, in partnership with the Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. The Mayor was joined by Councillor John Filion (Ward 23 Willowdale), the City’s Arts Advocate, Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina), Vice-Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee, and Claire Hopkinson, Director and CEO of Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation.

The Arts in the Parks initiative, which preceded and inspired this new permit, is a free outdoor initiative supported by the Toronto Arts Foundation that brings arts events (including music) to parks across the city.

“This new permit is an example of concrete steps we are taking to turn Toronto into a music city. This was based on advice we received from musicians themselves through Toronto’s Music Advisory Council and the Great Heart Festival, who had difficulty navigating bureaucracy at City Hall,” said Mayor Tory in a press release. “I want to continue to show our commitment to the city’s arts and music communities, and this new permit underscores this.”

The Arts and Music in Parks permit will put different kinds of arts in more than 20 different parks throughout the city, and these are not just limited to the downtown core. The pre-designated parks include locations in Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough, too.

“This innovative initiative will give musicians and artists a chance to showcase their art with new audiences,” said Councillor Filion. “The partnership expands opportunities for residents to experience art and music, as well.”

“Making it easier for small-scale art and music events to take place in our parks will help to foster community, providing social spaces where neighbours can get to know each other. This is the kind of initiative that makes Toronto beautiful and our parks loved public spaces,” said Councillor Layton.

Toronto Urban Roots Festival 2016 lineup revealed

May 26th, 2016


The lineup for the fourth annual Toronto Urban Roots Festival at Fort York Garrison Common was revealed earlier this morning via Indie88. TURF 2016 will take place September 16-18, and will be headlined by James Bay, Death Cab For Cutie, and a mystery act to be revealed soon.

The lineup also includes Canadian acts Barenaked LadiesMatthew GoodThe SheepdogsRheostaticsMatt Anderson & The Bona FideMatt Mays, and Corb Lund.

Tickets will go on sale Friday May 27 at noon, beginning at $175 (plus fees) for a 3-Day pass. A weekend pass for the new and improved VIP area will be available at $300 (plus fees), as well as a Master Pass for $400 (plus fees). The Master Pass will ensure all the VIP amenities, as well guaranteed admission to all TURF Club Bonus Series shows at The Horseshoe Tavern & Lee’s Palace September 15-19, 2016.

19 more artists will be announced in the coming weeks, as well as the club series and festival schedules.

In 2014, Collective Concerts’ and Toronto Music Advisory Council member Jeff Cohen opened the festival urging attendees to contact their City Councillors in support of live music in community greenspaces like Fort York. Festival-goers are still encouraged to contact their Councillors using our online tool to voice their support for #TOMusicCity!