MOST READ: What are your Molson Park memories?

[Before it was sold off and turned into an industrial area, Molson Park in Barrie was one of the great outdoor concert venues in all of Canada. With a capacity of somewhere around 35,000 people, it was the site of dozens and dozens of summer shows in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. Contributor Gilles LeBlanc has great memories of attending MP shows. Do you have any? – AC]

You know what I miss more than concerts? Going to concerts at Molson Park in Barrie. From CFNY-FM’s very first Edgefest in 1987 to Neil Young and “All-Star Ensemble” closing out the Canadian portion of Live 8, Molson Park was a magical location to experience live music. And I’m not referring to any mushrooms others may have consumed, or how the site doubled as a massive grow op in the early aughts.

Growing up in the westernmost hinterlands of the GTA, I looked forward to leaving my suburban cocoon several times a summer to hike up Highway 400 so as to take in all the sights and sounds, even if the commute there was oftentimes longer than the actual time spent at Molson Park. Yes, big-ticket shows took place at the much closer-to-me CNE Stadium, but I’ve always felt that alternative rock was something that needed to be sought out and therefore more rewarding if you made an adventure out of it.

This August 25th, I will be joining Toronto Mike’s world-renowned podcast to discuss some of our shared Molson Park Memories. We’ll Kick Out the Jams from the ten most significant shows at the place where you can now shop Best Buy, Marshalls and Cabela’s off “Concert Way”, but I want your help! Please leave a comment of what yer favourites were; don’t worry, The Tragically Hip will be well represented so don’t be afraid to spread the music love around. Eagerly awaiting the flood of #MolsonParkMemories.

Photo credit: Shawn William Clarke

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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.

13 thoughts on “MOST READ: What are your Molson Park memories?

  • August 10, 2020 at 8:29 am
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    Soooo many shows…my first there was lollapallooza 93, my last was live 8…edgefests, ARA, Metallica’94…

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  • August 10, 2020 at 9:37 am
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    My family went to an all-day Canada Day celebration, the only band I remember playing that day was the Northern Pikes. I also saw a Thompson Twins concert there for my birthday, Chris Issac was the opening act, strange pairing.

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  • August 10, 2020 at 10:50 am
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    Went to Edgefest there in…1999? With my sister and my cousins and friends. It was on Canada Day, and it was really unseasonably cold–like 14 degrees. We were freezing. The headliner was Tool and all their sweatshirts sold out fast! AMAZING Tool show, and the only time I’ve ever seen them live; I had tickets to see them in Montreal this past April, so I hope I will see them again before too long. I also saw Pearl Jam there on Aug 22 1998 which was the highlight of my teenage life. They were my favourite band, and they even played my favourite obscure tune, Immortality! F%^& that was great!

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  • August 10, 2020 at 11:11 am
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    Summersault 2000 – Friday August 11th, 2000 (20 years already!) Discovered A Perfect Circle that year, first time seeing them there. Waited in line for autographs from 4 of the 5 members. Came away halfway into Catharine Wheel’s set; did not know that would be it for them afterwards. Our Lady Peace previewed 2 yet-to-be released songs from ‘Spiritual Machines’; OLP only performers to have mass audience singalongs. Great memories that defined the next decade of my life, even experienced the Aurora Borealis and the Perseid meteor shower on the way home. Although I wonder if Dave Grohl found a home for the comforter someone tossed to him during the Foo Fighters’ set?
    – Kevin

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    • August 14, 2020 at 10:07 pm
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      Aww….. Molson Park!!
      Most of my favorite concert memories are from that park.
      When I was only 4 years old I saw The Hip for my first time there at a Canada Day festival, and many many Edge Fest on July 1st.
      Summersalt tour with A Perfect Circle.
      Another Roadside Attraction tour.
      Alanis Morissette and Our Lady Peace ✌️
      Pearl Jam ❤️

      But one of my most memorable shows at Molson Park was seeing Tool. An amazing experience!!
      I loved that Park. ❤️🇨🇦

      Reply
  • August 10, 2020 at 11:27 am
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    July 1st 1992. The Great Canadian Party. Had back stage passes for the 1st time ever!!! Helped that i was in the bar biz and knew the guy running Molson Park at that time. The Hip, Spinal Tap etc… Epic show

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    • August 10, 2020 at 9:51 pm
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      Pearl Jam ’98 – beer for breakfast, great bands on a side stage, standing in the pit for 8 hours in a complete dust bowl for my favourite band – and then seeing 100 of the dirtiest happiest faces in line at McDs on the 400 after the show

      Reply
      • August 12, 2020 at 1:03 am
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        Pearl Jam in 98
        Lolla 96 with Metallica,Soundgarden ,the Ramones,Rancid,Violent Femmes

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  • August 10, 2020 at 11:39 am
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    I was there for the first Edgefest and a lot of other great concerts. I was in attendance the day that blankets were banned due to someone getting hurt while blanket tossing. Every concert was always an experience, and I always came home with fantastic stories and memories.

    The best show by far for me was the Soundgarden/NIN show on August 6, 1994. The NIN light show was amazing and I was first introduced to POP. That night become number 1 on my list of the best concerts I had ever seen.

    Every time I’m driving on the 400 past the old Molson Park location, I can’t help but feel nostalgic.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2020 at 12:06 pm
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    I miss Molson Park! Lollapaloozas! Canada Days! I saw Ministry, Sound Garden, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Tragically Hip, Spinal Tap (for real), and Nine Inch Nails just to name the few I remember off the top of my head… I think I remember seeing Ice-T there (Cop-killer anyone?)

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  • August 10, 2020 at 1:01 pm
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    Oh, wow, I loved seeing festivals there! All the Edgefests bleed into one. I recall a non-drug-related high watching The Tea Party as the sky turned to dark, somebody doing a fun cover of Ozzy Osborne’s “Crazy Train” (was it Collective Soul?), and Jag Tanna’s guitar wizardry with I Mother Earth. I also saw the “Alanisfest” there (which a quick google tells me was on this very day in 1996!). What stands out about that show was J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. tuning his guitar at full volume (which was LOUD) for what seemed like 10 minutes, and, in retrospect, getting to see pre-Foos Taylor Hawkins slam the skins for Alanis.
    – Another Kevin

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  • August 10, 2020 at 9:08 pm
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    August 12, 2005. It was my son’s 10th birthday. He loved Green Day, so we got tickets to the show. Anti-Flag opened for them.
    Both bands put on a great show. Wore the concert tshirt just the other day!!!

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  • August 11, 2020 at 9:10 am
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    Spent most of the day backstage, when Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden co-headlined a festival type show in 1994.

    Reply

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