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On Nov. 18, The Music Den is launching a free monthly concert series to connect Toronto music lovers to local artists.
The initiative, based out of the TransMedia Zone, works to create more opportunities for local bands to play live shows. The Music Den hopes to attract Ryerson students to the shows by making live music more accessible and less costly. All of the shows will be free for fans.
“What we want to do is give these artists another platform to perform, and to meet people. And we’re hoping that people will realize how much talent we have in the city,” said Cormac McGee, the coordinator of the series.
The first show is a small trial run being held at the Imperial Pub featuring two Ryerson bands, For Jane and Jack the Lads.
On Dec. 15, The Music Den is partnering with Wavelength, a weekly live music series, to host a bigger event.
Julia Wittman, the lead singer of For Jane said that although there are more opportunities south of the border, she wants to build a following in Toronto.
“I’m very passionate about Canadian content and I think it’s worthwhile to stay in Canada and to make a name for yourself here,” she said.
Performance space and accessibility in Toronto’s music scene has been a hot-topic since 2013, when the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance was launched by the municipal government.
The plan is meant to turn Toronto into a city where live music strives and there is greater local support for local artists mimicking Austin, TX.
On Nov. 9 city councillors Josh Colle and John Filion brought forward a motion to preserve the existing music venues in Toronto threatened by condo development.
Recently The Hideout, a mainstay in Toronto’s live music scene, closed down.The Central, where both For Jane and Jack the Lads got their starts performing at is shutting its doors as well.
When The Music Den started in April 2016, president Mohamed Lachemi said it would contribute to Toronto’s music strategy. The concert series is one way that has come to fruition.
“When I think about a music city it means artists who are able to financially support themselves off their art, not having to worry about working a full-time job to pay their rent, finding accessible places to rehearse and perform. This concert series is one small step in that, we’re going to pay them to perform and hopefully bring them a new audience,” said McGee.