Open Air Concerts, How I Miss You

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KevBo avatarI remember a time when my summers were filled with live music, enjoyed while sitting on the grass. It seemed that as if every other weekend during the summer was spent in downtown London listening to this music with hundreds of other people there to do the same thing.

Those time that I remember have all but long past.

About 10 years ago (I was 15 or 16 at the time, I cant remember) I remember spending many evenings listening to free live music in downtown London. There was music at the Folk Festival, Balloon Festival, Canada Day, Victoria Day weekend and a handful of other dates, not to mention at the Annual Air Show out at the airport. Year after year I headed downtown with family and friends to hear good music (and bad music) time after time. It was always a great experience, not only did I get to enjoy time downtown but I got to hear music from the artists that I loved and got exposed to music and artists that Ive never heard before. One of the best things about the experience I remember was the fact that these concerts were free and brought a wide variety of people together in the downtown core.

Those are the days that I miss.

Over the past decade I have seen all of these concerts all fade away. No longer can a concert be held in a park just for the hell of it, just to celebrate the good times, the good weekends or not even to just hold a concert. Now Im hard pressed to find any sort of open air concerts (that are free) other than those in conjunction with some of the long running festivals in London.

Now dont get me wrong, I enjoy the music at the Home County Folk Festival, Sunfest, The East Coast festival and all the like, but its just not the same as a good “full scale” main stream concert. All we now get in London in terms of these types of conerts are those that we have to pay for. Hawk Rocks the Park, Beerfest, Bluesfest even the Balloon fest (when it was still around) all are or became paid events, only available and accessible to those that want to fork out a ridiculous amount of money to see the show. The free concerts are something that I miss. Im not against the paid event at all, I think its needed in certain cases, and in the case of Hawk Rocks the Park its for a good cause, however, I dont think that in anyway these should be a replacement for the “entertainment for the masses”. The free concerts were something for the entire city to enjoy, but now those are slowing slipping away from the city, just like everything else.

With the loss of the balloon festival this year and me wondering if it has gone the way of the air show I begin to wonder how long it will take before Sunfest and Home County go the same way. Perhaps there is hope though. With Lolafest returning this year there will great music, although nothing spectacular and mind-blowing (as I saw last year) or being held in the summer, its something to keep my hope alive.

I wish I lived in the days that I did 10 years ago, where I could go to enjoy the music that I so much love which enjoying the downtown I live in, but those days seem to be all but gone.

Note on Upcoming Music:

Make sure to check out Melissa McClelland down at Victoria Park next weekend for the Home County Folk Festival and Emm Gryner at Aeolian Hall ($5) for a Late Night for the Folk Festival as well.

Stay tuned to Lolafest.com for acts coming this fall to London

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