RTA students break ground by streaming music festival

The group of fourth-year students get creative with their practicum

The group of fourth-year students get creative with their practicum

A group of Ryerson students is looking to put emerging Canadian talent in the spotlight with a Toronto concert series this December.

Nine radio and television arts, school of media students have organized three shows at venues across the city, including Adelaide Hall, Measure and Ryerson’s Studio A at the Rogers Communications Centre. The Dec. 12 event, called Wired City Music Festival, will consecutively stream performances from home-grown bands online.

According to production manager Aven Hoffarth, the festival is a fourth-year practicum project that’s looking to break new ground on the Toronto music scene.

“It’s the first time that we know of that anyone has ever done a multi-venue festival streamed live,” she says.

Indie rockers and 2009 Polaris Prize nominee Bruce Peninsula, funk band KC Roberts and the Live Revolution and folk group Union Duke will all take the stage for the festival.

Though none of the bands have made it big yet, Hoffarth insists they are “real gems,” whom she is excited to watch grow and work with.

“It’s pretty cool to see the work you do with artists somewhere on the Internet, whether it’s their YouTube video or a track they have live on SoundCloud for people to hear,” she says. “You have a really big hand in them breaking into the music industry and developing new fans.”

For Union Duke banjo player and radio and television arts graduate Jim McDonald, the festival is more than an opportunity to get his band exposure. It’s a way to give back to his former school.
“It’s going to be great to support that program and it just sounds like an interesting concept to live stream,” he says.

He promises those who are attending the band’s performance can expect an “upbeat set” full of “dancing tunes” and high energy.

According to Hoffarth, if it’s a success, the group will market their live streaming model and services to other local music events like Canadian Music Week and NXNE.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on November 20, 2013.

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