For the most populous province in Confederation, Ontario, should have more choice when it comes to multi-day outdoor music festivals. We have Field Trip in Toronto, but it’s quite compact and is designed to be a city-friendly experience. There’s Blues Fest in Ottawa, but it’s again a city thing without opportunities like camping. Music fans looking for a big field experience have had to go to Osheaga or Festival d’été (both in Quebec), American events like Coachella or Bonnaroo or something in Europe like Glastonbury or Roskilde.
Part of the issue has been land. With the loss of Molson Park in Barrie (what a fantastic place that was!) and the continuing logistical issues of Downsview Park in Toronto (YOU try organizing a multi-day festival on a property owned by three levels of government and an airline manufacturer), and the logistical nightmare of the Toronto Islands (been there, done that), southern and central Ontario has placed all its faith in Burl’s Creek north of Barrie. And while that venue has hosted several multi-date festivals like Boots and Hearts, promoters have had their challenges.
This is a brand new three-day festival organized by people outside the usual Live Nation/AEG nexus. The site is the Edenvale Airport in Stayner, Simcoe County, an old air force base turned civilian facility with acres and acres of space. Located about 130 km from Toronto (or, to put it another way, about 30 km northwest of Barrie) on the way to the tourist area of Wasaga Beach, the airport is accessible from two major highways and is big enough to accommodate tens of thousands of music fans–even those who want to camp.
Running July 11-13 (a Thursday through Saturday), Roxodus will feature two main stages. Kid Rock, Nickelback, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Frampton, Saga, Honeymoon Suite, Lita Ford, Lee Aaron, Prism, Streetheart and a bunch more acts to be named in the coming months. There will also be an opportunity for emerging artists to get involved. (Details TBA.)
There will be charity angles to the festival, too. For example, the Thursday will honour the work of members of the Canadian military and their families, both veterans and active duty personnel. Discounted tickets will also be offered to the military community.
And this won’t be another let’s-go-stand-in-a-field-for-three-days-thing, either. Organizers studied Coachella’s Desert Trip for ideas that will cater to all manner of audience needs: Single-day admission, a selection of weekend-long camping packages, VIP experiences, and Platinum VIP options that include private car service, chartered helicopters and float planes as potential means of transportation.
Tickets are on sale now, which include payment plans–handy for this time of year, no? Details here.
Here’s a CTV/Barrie report on the festival.
[Full disclosure on this one: I’m the festivals Minister of Information/Chief Media Mouthpiece.]