This Could Change the Concert Festival Landscape In Canada. Maybe.

If you’re going to hold a massive music festival–and I’m talking about 70,000 attendees and up–the first thing you need is space. There are areas in Canada capable of staging such an event in places like BC (think Pemberton), Ottawa (Bluesfest) and Quebec (Festival d’Ete). But when it comes to the area around Toronto, there’s a problem.

Downsview Park seemed like an awesome solution but it’s so mired in the meddling of three layers of government that it cannot get its shit together, even after more than a decade of promises. There were rumours that the area next to Woodbine Race Track might be suitable, but those talks never went anywhere. High Park? Don’t even ask.

What about outside Toronto. Christie Lake Conservation Area near Hamilton? Too small. Molson Park? Long gone, subsumed into the expansion of Barrie. Mosport? Possible, but no one seems to have an appetite for doing anything out there anymore.

So we in the GTA are screwed. We’ll never have a space large enough to hold a mega-festival that’s within a reasonable driving distance.

Wait. Hold on.  What’ about Burl’s Creek?  It’s not that far away from Toronto. In decent traffic, it’s, what two hours north of the city?  Head up the 400 past Barrie and you’re there. They’ve already been holding some events there. And haven’t they slowly been expanding?

This press release popped in my inbox this morning:

Canada’s largest outdoor event venue, Burl’s Creek Event Grounds is now under new management. Located in Oro-Medonte, ON, with the capacity to accommodate up to 80,000 people and up to 45,000 campers during special events, the grounds are slated to become a leading outdoor special event space, hosting Boots and Hearts, Canada’s largest camping and country music festival in 2015.

With over 700 acres of pristine grounds, Burl’s Creek is the perfect destination for both large- and small-scale events. From global festivals and must-see concerts to automotive flea markets and sporting events, Burl’s Creek boasts a lush forested landscape, two natural amphitheaters, and retrofitted barns housing exclusive VIP areas and a farmer’s market.

This sounds promising. Could this be the replacement for Molson Park so many people have been hoping for? Could this light a fire under the knobs who can’t get it together over Downsview? We’ll see.

Burl's Creek Event Grounds

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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