T. O. Notes
Fate of Riot Fest Toronto up in the air The future of Riot Fest Toronto is looking uncertain following a merger between the annual music festival’s local co- promoter and Live Nation Canada.
For the past four years, Calgary- and- Edmonton- based promoter Union Events has co- presented the Toronto edition of the independent rock/ punk/ hip- hop- focused festival with the event’s Chicago- based founders. ( Riot Fest started in Chicago in 2005 and later expanded to Denver and Toronto. Organizers partner with local co- promoters when staging the festival outside Chicago.)
However, the company’s Toronto office was shuttered last week after Live Nation acquired Union’s festival portfolio, which includes Calgary’s X- Fest and Chasing Summer and Edmonton’s Sonic Boom.
A spokesperson for Live Nation told NOW that the deal excludes Riot Fest Toronto, “which will not be promoted by Live Nation Canada.”
Reached by NOW, Riot Fest’s Chicago- based founder could not confirm whether the Toronto edition would go forward this year, since organizers are still exploring their options.
“We wish Union Events the best of luck in their new venture,” Mike Petryshyn said in a statement. “They’ve been great partners and have become our close friends. We are still sorting through the future plans for Riot Fest in Toronto but would like to thank the fans for their support these past four years.”
The last Riot Fest Toronto took place at Downsview Park on September 19 and 20, 2015, and attracted 20,000 people per day. The lineup included Motörhead ( it ended up being their final show in Toronto), Alexisonfire, Weezer, Rancid and Tyler, the Creator.
Dates and early- bird ticket info for this year’s Denver and Chicago editions of Riot Fest have been announced already. Meanwhile, the 400 shows currently booked by Union Events across the country for 2016 will go ahead as planned before the company’s touring business transitions to Live Nation Canada.
Union Events founders and co- managing partners Harvey Cohen and Nhaelan McMillan, as well as “other key members of the Union Events team,” will join Live Nation Canada. Live Nation’s spokesperson declined to comment on the number of Union staffers laid off as a result of the merger. Rihanna releases video shot at the Real Jerk If you’re a Drake and/ or Rihanna fan, you were probably excited at the news that the two were spotted at one of Toronto’s best- known Jamaican restaurants shooting the video for RiRi’s new single, Work. It’s the first single off her NNNNrated record Anti.
According to the CBC, Drizzy is a regular visitor at the Real Jerk on Gerard East in Riverdale, popping in for takeout. Rihanna’s connection to T. O. runs beyond her friendship with the city’s most successful rapper: the video for her very first single, Pon De Replay, was shot in Toronto.
In the new video, Rihanna and Drake essentially turn the restaurant into an after- hours spot. Toronto- based director X was behind the camera and also helmed a second, more intimate video for Work that plays immediately after the first. NXNE plots move to the port lands Organizers of the annual NXNE music festival are scaling down and relocating from the city centre to a proposed site up the street from Sound Academy in the port lands.
According to a letter from Ward 30 ( Toronto- Danforth) councillor Paula Fletcher and Ward 15 councillor Josh Colle ( Eglinton- Lawrence) to the Economic Development Committee, the festival wants to transform 155 Cherry into a concert venue and produce two days of shows on June 17 and 18 that will draw 10,000 people.
The annual festival – which is the sister event to the SXSW conference and festival in Austin, Texas – previously happened over five days and took over Yonge- Dundas Square with free outdoor shows in addition to ticketed gigs at clubs.
The city councillors are asking that the city designate the festival as a “cultural event of municipal significance” and support a NXNE stage in the port lands as a way to “spur tourism and create jobs.”
“The Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council was established to shape plans to position Toronto as a leading live music tourist destination and promote and foster Toronto’s vibrant music cluster,” states the letter, dated February 10. “One way to achieve these goals includes support for events such as Toronto’s North By Northeast ( NXNE) Festival.”
The letter also asks the general manager of economic development and culture to report to the committee on the support the city of Austin gives to SXSW and determine if comparable support can be offered to NXNE. Cage 292 becomes Vinyl College and Spadina venue Cage 292 ( 292 College) is under new ownership and rebranding as Vinyl on March 10.
“We have taken over that address [ as] new owners,” says Tracy Lynn, a spokesperson for Vinyl. “No affiliation to the Cage. As for changes, renos are being done and [ we’re adding] a different sound system.”
The new space opens the weekend of the HiFi Musical Adventure, a new three- day indie music festival taking over the Kensington Market area from March 10 to 12.
The festival also takes place at the Silver Dollar, Handlebar, Supermarket and the Old Laurel and features more than 60 bands. The acts span a variety of genres, but all are local and newcomers – aka “baby bands” – in the scene. Wristbands are $ 10.
hifimusicaladventure. com. Deadmau5- signed acts catch a bu5 Artists signed to hometown EDM hero deadmau5’ s Mau5trap label are hitting the road on their cleverly titled Mau5hax Bu5 Tour. The trek kicks off in Toronto on Thursday ( February 25) at Uniun nightclub and features producers and DJs Attlas, Matt Lange, Rezz, Steve Duda and “a special gue5t.”
The tour also hits Hamilton, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee and wraps with a second stop in Miami at the Winter Music Conference in March. Along the way, the crew will produce new music using a one- of- a- kind mobile recording tour bus and stop at deadmau5’ s Toronto home for a special collaboration.
Tickets for the Uniun gig are $ 50 via Ticketmaster. More info at mau5trap. com/ shows.