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Music News Digest, June 29, 2023

Festivals news

Each year, Stanfest in Canso, NS, pays tribute to late Canadian folk great Stan Rogers with a special show on Sunday. This year, on Sat. July 22 at 2pm, the fest is also doing a Main Stage tribute concert to Gordon Lightfoot. The 'Remembering Gordon Lightfoot' cast includes, J.P. Cormier, Dave Gunning, Joe H Henry, Dylan & Jodi Guthro, Matthew Byrne, Danny Michel, Andrea England, and Lisa Richard Music. Info and tix here.

– BreakOut West returns to Kelowna, BC,  Oct. 11-15  for its annual music festival and industry conference, and it recently announced the first wave of artists that will be performing live throughout the city during the event. Over 60 acts will perform in six venues over three days. Festival wristbands are available here, and a full schedule of the BreakOut West 2023 events will be available here.

– The Barnside Harvest Festival runs Sept. 15-17 in Ladner, BC, with an impressive lineup that includes The Sheepdogs, Dear Rouge, The Zolas, 54-40, The Road Hammers, Jordan Klassen, and Jess Roper. The last day for Early Bird tix here is June 30. 

– There is an impressive lineup of free concerts at Toronto's Harbourfront this July long weekend. Those featured include the TSO, Martha Chaves, Kalàscima and Andrea Ramolo, The Strumbellas, Crystal Shawanda, OKAN and the Lulu All-Stars. More info here

Industry news

– Nova Scotia Music Week (NSMW) returns to Yarmouth/Kespukwitk from Nov. 2-5, and Music Nova Scotia has shared the first 40 acts that will be performing there. Notable names featured include Braden Lam, Carleton Stone, Jah'Mila, James Shaw Quartet, Leanne Hoffman, Like A Motorcycle, Rain Over St. Ambrose, and Skunk Motel. Delegate Passes and Festival Wristbands are on sale now here

– Great news for the Toronto live music scene is the return to action of one of the city’s most historic concert venues. Now known as The Concert Hall, the building at 888 Yonge St. has formerly been known as The Masonic Temple, the legendary Rock Pile, and, for a spell, The Concert Hall. It has played host to artists ranging from  Led Zeppelin, Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, The Who, and the Grateful Dead to David Bowie, R.E.M., and Iggy Pop.

Narrowly avoiding demolition in 1997, thanks to its designation as a heritage site, the building went on to serve various purposes, from housing a news bureau and TV shows to hosting listening sessions and concerts. In 2012, Info-Tech Research Group acquired and renovated the Temple. Now under the management of 888 Yonge Inc., it recently announced shows by Black Country, New Road, Broken Social Scene, The Wood Brothers, Blonde Redhead, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. More info and tix here

– Music Nova Scotia has now published its AGM 2023 Annual Report. Read it here.  

– The well-curated DT Concert Series in Paris, ON, has announced its upcoming season of concerts by top Canadian artists. It opens on Sept. 27 with Great Lake Swimmers, followed by Jenn Grant, Dan Mangan, Wide Mouth Mason, Chris Murphy (Sloan), Terra Lightfoot, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar, Justin Rutledge, Julian Taylor, and more. Info and tix here

– June 23 was declared Jackie Shane Day in Toronto, and Heritage Toronto has dedicated a plaque in honour of the groundbreaking soul singer at Richmond and Victoria Streets. This building that once housed the Saphire Club where she recorded her live album. Those attending the ceremony included Shane's niece from Nashville and the actor who portrays Shane in the Heritage Minute clip.

Ginger St James has organised the 7th annual Bands for Boobs Fundraiser for the Cancer Assistance Program, taking place at The Casbah in Hamilton on July 2 (1-8 pm). It features a stellar group of local talents and is highly recommended. $20 Tickets at the door. More info here.

– MusicNL has partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association Newfoundland and Labrador (CMHA-NL), and Lifewise to create the new Jason Cull scholarship valued at $500 to recognize and support mental health in the music industry. Applicants should be currently enrolled in or planning to attend school at the college, undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, or doctoral level in any music-related program, and must be a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador. Apply here by Aug. 31.

– A reminder that the submission deadline for the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class is tomorrow (June 30) at 5 pm ET. The prestigious program is designed to support emerging artists with opportunities to refine their craft and further develop their music careers and is valued at over $100K. Apply here.

Artists news

– Drake reports that a new album is on the way. Shortly after announcing his first poetry book on June 24, Drake also teased his next musical project.  “I made an album to go with the book,” he announced. “They say they miss the old Drake girl don’t tempt me. FOR ALL THE DOGS.” An album release date has not yet been reported. Drizzy's debut poetry collection is named Titles Ruin Everything: A Stream of Consciousness, by Aubrey Drake Graham and Kenza Samir. Drake took out a full-page advertisement in major outlets like the New York Post, Los Angeles Times and Houston Chronicle to promote it. The ad contained a QR code leading to the website, where the rap superstar teased his next album. The collection is currently available for purchase through and other select retailers, including publisher Phaidon. Source: Billboard

– Hamilton rockers The Dirty Nil have announced a new run of Canadian dates including Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal on the Free Rein to Passions tour following the release of their fourth album, one with that title. This trek kicks off in London on Sept. 29 and includes Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. The band is currently playing US shows. Tix on sale now. Details here.

– Fronted by singer/songwriter Benjamin Hackman, Toronto band The Holy Gasp recently released a third studio album, ...And the Lord Hath Taken Away, a 65-minute orchestral suite written for an ensemble of 45 musicians and vocalists using the framing narrative of The Book of Job. The group's latest animated video, The Algonquin Bridge, recently won an award at Cannes.

– Last week, East Coast indie pop artist Leanne Hoffman released her sophomore album, The Text Collector, via Venue Records (distributed by Fontana North). The album was born from a poetry project in which the multi-disciplinary artist wrote one poem a day for a full year. She plays The Cap in Fredericton on July 6 with Loviet. Here's Hoffman's new single.

– Atlantic Canadian pop songsmith Jon Mullane has put out a music video for his new single, The Sun in the Summertime, taken from his new EP California (released on June 9). The retro beach-inspired video was shot on Bayswater Beach in Nova Scotia in early June, amidst the bushfires, and fittingly released on the first day of summer.

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