Physically distanced concert venue launching in Edmonton for summer concert series
An Edmonton-based entertainment production company plans to bring live concerts back to the city by creating a physically distanced venue on the infield of the former racetrack of Northlands Park.
Trixstar's "Together Again Outdoor Concert Series" will land more than a dozen big names – from Canadian rock bands 54-40, I Mother Earth, Our Lady Peace and The Rural Alberta Advantage to country stars Jess Moskaluke and Dean Brody – in the centre of the old Edmonton Exhibition Lands over August.
The company calls it the first big outdoor concert series out of the pandemic in Canada, and the country's first dedicated, physically distanced concert venue.
According to president Mike Anderson, the event won't use all of the space's 350,000 square feet, but enough to distance tables for some six thousand people by two metres.
"Outdoor patio meets the Jubilee auditorium. But in a big outdoor field," Anderson told CTV News Edmonton Morning Live.
Tickets starting at $59 per person will be sold for tables of two, four or six across the former race field. Concertgoers will not be able to mingle with other tables and will have to bring their own chairs. There will be no re-entry to the grounds and current public health orders will apply. Food, drinks and performer merchandise will be sold electronically and delivered to tables.
"It's a real exciting innovation we haven't seen at festivals yet," Anderson said.
Altogether, he called it the return of big events to Alberta's capital city in a "safe and respectable" way.
Trixstar will donate $2 from each ticket sale to Boyle Street and Hope Mission.
The full concert lineup will be released June 8. Tickets for the series starting Aug. 6 go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. MST.
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The concert series is one of few events to have confirmed plans in Alberta, which government officials say will be likely be fully open by July with 70 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated against COVID-19 with one dose.
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Organizers cancelled the Edmonton Folk Fest in April, saying "the complexity of planning and delivering a festival of this size makes it impossible to move forward in our usual manner" and that an event wouldn't be fully safe without full vaccination. The festival is instead putting on a free community concert series in 42 neighbourhoods with funding from EPCOR. The company has set aside $320,000 in a "Heart + Soul Fund" for arts and culture activities in the city. The money will also benefit an Indigenous art garden and TELUS World of Science Edmonton.
Union Hall will take its business outside over the Canada Day long weekend. It announced on Monday a block party lineup consisting of Roy Woods, Keys N Krates, Kryple, Killy, The Funk Hunters and Stickybuds to be hosted at an outdoor stage.
Another new venue, The Backyard, will open in Edmonton's downtown core as an entirely outdoor, year-round hang-out spot. It'll have a permanent set up of seating, a small stage, and a bar and washrooms, and will host food trucks.
But other events, such as Edmonton's K-Days, will not take place. Organizer Northlands said the decision was made after a "hard look" at whether it "could deliver a high-quality event given limited timelines and resources."