Not sure if Mr. Toronto has divulged this before, but I am a music freak – iPod docked in my office, going to concerts on an almost weekly basis, songs running through my head throughout the day (I’m also the guy people call when they need a rock trivia question answered at 2am from some boozy bar…). So I have been in absolute heaven since my last blog entry, as it has been one musical event after another!
Started off the week by attending a press conference for the latest addition to Toronto’s amazing summer concert season…the new BlackCreek Music Festival. A VERY ambitious series- spearheaded behind the seasons by the impresario/marketing genius Garth Drabinsky of Livent/Phantom fame (has to be behind the scenes – he’s about to go to jail for embezzlement, but that’s another story…) – this is a 14-week festival launching June 4th. It’s taking place at the Rexall Centre up at York University, which until now has been used only for Rogers Cup Tennis Tournaments that are held every year (my favourite sporting event – the subject of a future blog, I’m sure!). It’s a very eclectic festival, launching with the superstar Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, then featuring everyone from Marvin Hamlisch to the London Symphony Orchestra to Diana Krall with Tony Bennett, to James Taylor. Check out www.blackcreekfestival.com for details.
My next meeting was with the Toronto Jazz Festival. It’s their 25th Anniversary (!!!) this year, and have announced the first of what will be many fantastic concerts (many free). Pushing my button in particular are Paco de Lucia (amazing flamenco guitarist), Return To Forever featuring Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, among others (one of the first concerts I ever saw – and one of the only ones with my dad – WAY back in the ‘70’s!), and Bela Fleck – a banjo virtuoso (yes, really) – reuniting wit his incredible band the Flecktones. The Jazz Fest takes place June 24- July 3rd, and this year moves down to Metro Square, as it’s usual home- Nathan Phillips Square- is under a massive renovation project… it’s a great space off King St.West that links Metro Hall with Roy Thomson Hall, across from the Royal Alex Theatre. www.torontojazz.com for the whole line-up!
Metro Square is also the new home for the last of the announcements I went to this past week, for Luminato- Toronto’s Festival of Arts and Creativity, taking place June 10-19 (also celebrating an anniversary – #5). While it is not strictly a music festival – it bills itself as “an annual multi-disciplinary celebration of theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, fashion, film, and more” (what more could there be??!!) – the event I went to focused on their music offerings, which are spectacular. And again, many free, including Grammy Award winning k.d. lang and Kronos Quartet, quirky pop combo-turned children’s act They Might be Giants (my sister dated their guitar player – you will NOT be reading about that in a future blog…) and Canadian favourites The Joel Plaskett Emergency. Yes, all FREE!! And I just have to give a plug here for one of the coolest indie bands I have ever seen who performed for us at the press conference (and will be opening for Punjabi superstar Malkit Singh of Bend it Like Beckham fame). They’re called Delhi 2 Dublin, and like the name implies, they are an amazing mix of Indian and Irish music, wrapped up in a neo-punk blanket…
See you out at ALL these shows! Mr. Toronto