Apologies to readers outside Southern Ontario, but this week’s question is focused on folks in the Greater Toronto Area and its environs.
The Canadian National Exhibition has been a thing since 1879 and has gained a reputation as the summer’s last big blow-out. When it starts this Friday for its 18-day run (despite the IATSE picket lines that might slow things down), there will be the usual lineup of concerts both at the CNE Bandshell and the Budweiser Stage across Lake Shore Boulevard.
Music has always been a big part of the CNE. People of a certain age will remember the gigs at Exhibition Stadium that began decades ago and only stopped when it was demolished to make way for BMO Field (which holds almost zero music events for a variety of reasons, including, I’m told, the high cost of union labour).
Some big names have played over the years: Ozzy, Elton, Diana Ross, Cher, Van Morrison, Billy Idol, Fleetwood Mac. Then there are all the CNE Bandshell shows. And we can add in any CNE-related gigs at the Molson Amphitheatre (now the Budweiser Stage).
A simple question, then: What are your favourite CNE-related (i.e. late-August) concert memories?