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There’s a Petition to Have Nickelback Replace U2 for Canada 150 Celebrations in Ottawa. No, Really.

Late last week, Bono and The Edge announced that they were going to pop into Ottawa on Saturday to play one song during the Canada 150 celebrations. Why? “Because we really, really like Canada,” said The Edge. “We’re going to drop in, play one song and then fly back to Cleveland for a show Saturday night.”

This isn’t sitting well with some people. “Canada Day should be about Canada!” they say. “There should be no one but Canadian artists performing.”

That’s also the view of CRUZ-FM, an Edmonton radio station. They’ve launched a petition demanding that U2 be replaced with Nickelback. Seriously. When I checked this morning, only 206 people had signed up.

I’m sorry, but all these people have got it very, very wrong. There are plenty of Canadian artists from all genres playing Canada 150 events across the country on Saturday and having a major international act playing is a great thing. It’s good press for the entire Canada 150 event. It offers a huge endorsement to the importance of Canada on the world stage. It will bring even more people to the party. Having just Canadian acts risks projecting an insular attitude.

And this is BONO, fer crissakes, an international ambassador not just for music but for a ton of other things, ranging from human rights to environmentalism to championing the needs of the poor. Isn’t he the guy who said “The world needs more Canada?” And you wanna see something go viral? Have Justin take a selfie with Bono. The whole world will pay attention to Canada and the fact that we’re now 150 years old.

After a century-and-a-half, we need to grow up a little and be more aggressive when it comes to telling the world who we are. Our music scenes are the envy of the world, so we should have no fear of being overshadowed by a foreign performer. Why be so parochial about things?

What better way of telling the world how good Canada is by having the world come to us and have them to the cheerleading?

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.

Alan Cross has 37848 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

16 thoughts on “There’s a Petition to Have Nickelback Replace U2 for Canada 150 Celebrations in Ottawa. No, Really.

  • I love u2 but it would kinda be nice to have a Canadian preform on Canada day…

    • But there are. LOTS of Canadian bands are performing. I’m in a hotel room right across from Parliament and TONS of Canadian acts are performing. I think U2 is the only foreign performer.

      • I know but for Canada day you would hope for an all Canadian line up. At the very least you would hope the headliners were Canadian. Just saying. That said, I will probably check them out so it’s not like I’m protesting the show or anything.

        Someone should start a petition to bring back can-con. That’s something I could really get behind!

      • Yeah but 99% of people who aren’t in Ottawa have no idea who’s playing other than Bono and the edge. As great as it is that they are will to play, and for free no less, I would have loved to see a headline like Bono and the edge to join broken social scene on stage for Canada day.

  • Well said Alan! I agree 100%.

  • It’s one song from a group that really appreciates us. What’s wrong with that? I wouldn’t be the least surprised if they do a Leonard Cohen cover or something by another important Canadian songwriter. In my opinion, there’s more to being Canadian than just being born here, it’s also a mindset. Party on, Canada!

    • Amen. We should embrace the fact that the biggest in the world want to celebrate with us.

  • I respectfully disagree.

    There will be a lot of tourism during Canada 150, and as good as Bono is, no one (vistor or resident) will understand why U2 is playing. All this will do is cause mixed reactions and skew our cultural identity.

    Bono can come and watch if he likes Canada so much, in fact he can perform any other day of the year.

    • We, as a nation, have tons of artists who deserve this spot, moreso than U2 or Nickelback.

    • It’ll only skew our national identity if that identity is weak. I think our psyche can withstand a one-song performance from a band that wants to play because they like us.

  • So, the biggest band in the world wants to take time out of their tour to come celebrate Canada’s 150th with us and people are complaining? I think it is fantastic! In fact, I wish more international bands had come over to celebrate our multiculturalism.

    • I’m on the fence. Love that they are willing to play i just would have loved if the organizers could have figured out a way to Canada it up a bit. Bono singing nova heart with the spoons?…

  • Have none of you had a special guest to your birthday party when you were kids?

    Lighten up people, a friend of Canada wants to do something nice. Enjoy it.


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