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Frank Turner’s Lost Evenings expands to Canada

British singer-songwriter Frank Turner’s Lost Evenings festival is expanding to Canada.

Curated by Turner, Lost Evenings VII will take place from 19-22 September at The Theatre, Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto, in partnership with Live Nation.

The award-winning four-day event launched at London’s Roundhouse in May 2017, when it starred Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls, Skinny Lister, Will Varley, Ben Marwood, Ducking Punches and Non Canon. Subsequent festivals have been held under the banner in Berlin, Germany and Boston, US, while it made its West Coast debut last September at House of Blues Anaheim, California.

“After a triumphant time in Anaheim this year, I’m pleased and proud to announce that the seventh instalment of my very own Lost Evenings festival will be taking place in Toronto in September 2024,” says Turner. “The festival keeps growing, and Toronto is one of my favourite cities in the world, so it’s a perfect match. See you all in the Great White North.”

A long-time supporter and patron of the UK’s Music Venue Trust, Turner will perform a different headline set each night, with further lineup announcements still to come. There will also be special guests and panels, plus a second stage named after Turner’s friend, the late merchandise manager Nick Alexander, who was killed in the 2015 Bataclan attack in Paris, France.

“This pivotal occasion marks the beginning of a new chapter in live entertainment in Toronto”

Four-day passes for Lost Evenings are priced from C$220 (€150) and are 75% sold out after going on sale last month.

Live Nation Canada is the exclusive booking agent for the new 5,000-cap The Theatre at Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto, and will jointly promote the programming with gaming and hospitality firm Great Canadian Entertainment.

The $1 billion resort will celebrate its official grand opening weekend in May with headline performances at the theatre by Gwen Stefani (3 May) and Blake Shelton (4 May).

“We are thrilled to welcome Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton to The Theatre for Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto’s Grand Opening Weekend,” says Great Canadian Entertainment CMO Gavin Whiteley. “This pivotal occasion marks the beginning of a new chapter in live entertainment in Toronto as we curate a diverse array of world-class performances, and entertainment experiences for our guests.”


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Live Nation Canada and Drake to open Toronto venue

Toronto’s newest venue History will officially open its doors this weekend after restrictions around general admission capacity were lifted.

A collaboration between Live Nation Canada and Drake, the 2,500-capacity venue plans to host 200 events annually.

Located in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood, the building includes a convertible general admission area and reserved seating configurations.

We are thrilled to bring History to life in Toronto with live entertainment

“We are thrilled to bring History to life in Toronto with live entertainment that we know will elevate the city’s concert-going experience,” said Riley O’Connor, chairman, Live Nation Canada. “We can’t wait for both fans and artists alike to experience our newest destination music venue.”

History opens on Sunday (7 November) with a show by Bleachers. Other upcoming concerts include Deadbeats, Chvrches, Duke Dumont and WizKid.

The province of Ontario lifted capacity limits on 25 October in the majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required, with plans to lift mask-wearing requirements in indoor public spaces, as well as remove proof-of-vaccine requirements for all remaining settings, by the end of March 2022.

History will also launch a community arts programme aimed at supporting local youth’s artistic aspirations through both exposure and financial support. Art students in the area will have the opportunity to submit a portfolio to be considered for a commissioned opportunity to create band artwork for an upcoming show.

Multiple recipients will be chosen annually and awarded with a bursary, in addition to having their creations promoted at the venue, online and in-print.


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Live Nation acquires Canadian promoter Embrace Presents

Live Nation Entertainment has acquired a majority stake in Embrace Presents, a Canadian venue operator and promoter of concerts, festivals and events in the Toronto area.

The announcement follows the acquisition of Singaporean promoter One Production at the end of January, and an acquisition-heavy 2018 in which Live Nation acquired 16 companies, including Argentine promoter DF Entertainment, Swiss promoter Mainland Music and UK festivals Bestival and Camp Bestival.

The companies plan to combine Embrace’s experience developing emerging talent, boutique festivals and mid-size venue operations with Live Nation’s resources to bring more live events to Canada.

“Embrace has grown to become one of Toronto’s most influential leaders in live events,” says Riley O’Connor, chairman of Live Nation Canada. “We are excited to collaborate with them on new events and utilise their ingenuity and promotion tactics to further strengthen our presence in the marketplace.”

“We are looking forward to growing Embrace in concert with Live Nation to present bigger and more exciting live events”

Embrace continues to oversee all operations in its portfolio, including management of local festivals and the booking and running of Toronto venues Danforth Music Hall (1,425-cap.) and Velvet Underground (400-cap.).

Launched in 2001 by founder and president Adam Gill, Embrace began as an electronic music promoter. The company now presents a more diverse range of live music events including Toronto’s Electric Island (7,000-cap.) festival. Embrace has promoted shows for acts including Leon Bridges, Skrillex, Vance Joy and LCD Soundsystem.

Gill comments: “We are very excited to join Riley [O’Connor] and the entire Live Nation team as we embark on Embrace’s newest chapter. We are looking forward to growing Embrace in concert with Live Nation to present bigger and more exciting live events.”


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O Canada: market report

Canada’s economy has led G7 nations in growth in 2017, and that momentum seems to have carried over to the live music industry to a large degree.

“It’s robust,” says Jim Cressman, president of Pentiction, British Columbia-based Invictus Entertainment Group, which books and promotes 500-700 concerts per year at multiple venues. “The right artist at the right price almost always does predictable business.”

Though no national study has yet been done on the live music industry, an economic impact analysis of the business in Ontario – Canada’s most populous province and home to the music hub of Toronto – illustrated how important it is. The Live Music Measures Up study showed that the industry was responsible for 20,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2013 and that spending by live music companies and the tourism activity generated by music festivals together contributed just under C$1.2billion (€0.8bn) to Ontario’s gross domestic product.

Those numbers have likely increased, and can be extrapolated across the country, according to Erin Benjamin, executive director of Music Canada Live, which was created in the fall of 2014 to advance and promote the live music industry’s many economic, social and cultural benefits.

The concert industry received an extra boost in 2017 due to Canada’s sesquicentennial, as communities across the country often included live music in their celebrations of the nation’s 150th birthday.

While the Canadian recording industry has benefited from national sources of funding – including the Canada Music Fund, the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), Radio Starmaker Fund, VideoFACT, PromoFACT and the SOCAN Foundation – and broadcasters being legally obliged to play a minimum amount of Canadian content, the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government also provide grants for events and festivals where live music is a major component.

“That support really makes the Canadian music business the envy of the world, quite frankly,” says Jack Ross, who heads the newly opened Canadian office of the Los Angeles-based APA talent agency along with Ralph James.

The concert industry received an extra boost in 2017 due to Canada’s sesquicentennia

But that’s not stopping Music Canada Live and its more than 125 members – including concert promoters, festivals, presenters, venues, agents, ticketing companies, industry associations and suppliers – from advocating for policy advancement and increased funding, public awareness and research.

“Live music hasn’t effectively told its story with a united voice, and it’s my job to do that,” says Benjamin. “When we’re truly united by this association, whether it’s with me or ten executive directors from now, we will be the most powerful piece of Canada’s music industry because of the connection between artists and fans.”

Shawn Sakamoto, vice-president of Lethbridge, Alberta-based live event production and management company Sakamoto Entertainment, would like to see Canadian content regulations introduced to the domestic live music sector, which he believes has suffered due to “monopolisation of the touring market by entities such as Live Nation” and other multinational companies. He advocates Canadian artists being added to national tours by international performers in order to give them further exposure.

Confidence in Canada from American companies was shown this summer when, after LA-based United Talent Agency closed its Canadian office, APA and LA-based Paradigm Talent Agency both opened up shop in Toronto. They join the Feldman Agency and Paquin Artists Agency as Canada’s largest, while several smaller domestic agencies are also active.

“That competition is going to be a good thing for Canadian artists, and it will be a good thing for the music industry overall,” says Ross.


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 74:

Ken Craig to head up new Live Nation Ottawa office

Live Nation has announced the opening of a new office in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.

The new operation will be overseen by Ken Craig, an independent promoter with a long relationship with Live Nation Canada, who becomes vice-president of the Ottawa region. The company currently promotes around 70 shows a year in the city, which has a population of just shy of a million.

“Ken has been a colleague for 30 years,” comments Riley O’Connor, chairman of Live Nation Canada. “His passion for the entertainment business is reflected in his work ethic, as well as in making everyone feel welcome and excited to be participating in live concert experiences.

“We are proud to officially welcome Ken to the Live Nation family”

“We are proud to officially welcome Ken to the Live Nation Canada family as we continue upon our path of bringing the most vibrant and exciting live entertainment to fans across Canada.”

Craig is a long-time senior contract producer for Live Nation Canada, overseeing the production of arena, stadium and outdoor sites across the country, including the development of a venue production strategy at the new Videotron Centre (20,396-cap.) in Quebec and the development of several greenfield sites, including Magnetic Hill in Moncton and Wesley Clover Park in Ottawa. He has also promoted and produced Jerry Seinfield’s Canadian dates for the past ten years.


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Executive reshuffle at Live Nation Canada

Live Nation Canada has made two internal hires, announcing that Erik Hoffman has become its new president in Toronto and John May been brought in as president of media and corporate partnerships.

PRS Concerts co-founder Hoffman (pictured) was formerly Live Nation’s vice-president of talent in Vancouver, while May was previously executive vice-president of business development.

In his role as president of Toronto, Hoffman will be based at the 16,000-capacity Molson Canadian Amphitheatre and oversee Live Nation’s operations in one of North America’s largest concert markets. May, meanwhile, will “continue to direct the unprecedented expansion of Live Nation Canada’s corporate and strategic partnership portfolio”, says the promoter.

“Erik and John have proven track records in concert and business development across the country, as well as extensive experience in successfully spearheading and fulfilling a number of initiatives, benefitting not just Toronto, but the entire national organization,” says Paul Haagenson, president of Live Nation Canada, reports FYIMusicNews. “We are excited to deepen our footprint in Canada’s most vibrant concert market.”