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Fans and fellow musicians pay tribute to Walk Off the Earth’s Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor

I took a drive out to Burlington yesterday afternoon for a special tribute to Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor, the Walk Off the Earth keyboardist who died suddenly of natural causes just before New Year’s.

Burlington is Walk Off the Earth’s hometown. For the tribute, the city closed off Brant Street around Civic Square at City Hall. Thanks to the city’s Sound of Music Festival, a stage was set up and there were big video screens for those who couldn’t get close.

Mike, a 51-year-old father of two, was really, really liked and well-regarded. Thousands of people turned up–fans, families with kids, individuals–to hear acoustic performances from Walk Off the Earth, Barenaked Ladies, Arkells, USS, Saint Alvia, Darenotsm, Scott Helman and Monster Truck. The mayor introduced the evening and the CBC streamed it live.

Throughout the evening, Mike’s keyboards, which were set up onstage, remained untouched except for the candles. It was very, very touching.

What about the band? They’re going to keep going for now. There are obligations for a world tour that was planned before Mike died. The first gig will be in Turo, Nova Scotia, on February 9.

Everyone wishes them well.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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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