MUSIC

Bonnaroo-Affiliated Music Festival Coming To Ontario In July (But Not Called HomeAway)

01/06/2015 04:20 EST | Updated 01/07/2015 11:59 EST
Douglas Mason via Getty Images
MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 15: Aerial view of the Main Stage, 'What Stage', during the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 15, 2014 in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by Douglas Mason/Getty Images)

In late December – although the Knoxville News Sentinel referred to it in early November as a "rock event in Toronto" -- Canadian outlets broke news regarding a Toronto area music festival along the lines of Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee.

More details have emerged including that it will run from July 24 - 26, won't be called Home Away and has capacity for 70,000 festivalgoers and 45,000 campers.

The National Post reports the event will be held at the Burl's Creek Event Grounds north of Barrie, Ontario. The festival will feature four different stages during the three days as well as a "late-night forest." The festival is a collaboration between the co-founder of Bonnaroo, Ashley Capps, and Canadian-based promoter Republic Live.

"This is obviously a little sooner than we planned on talking about it," Republic Live's executive director Shannon McNevan told the publication. McNevan added the lineup as well as festival name will be announced in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Capps told the outlet the festival wouldn't be saturated with "jam bands" such as Phish or Dave Matthews Band but would consist of "some of the leading artists in music, the best selection of indie bands and local heroes."

Although details are still scarce, Republic Live is also responsible for the Boots and Hearts Music Festival which will take place at the same location in August. According to its official site, the lineup for this year includes Brad Paisley, Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line, among others. Previously the event was held in Bowmanville, Ontario.

The as-yet untitled festival won't coincide with other annual Toronto area music festivals such as Riot Fest or the Toronto Urban Roots Festival which took place last year in September and July, respectively. Meanwhile, North By Northeast (NXNE) takes place in June so there won't be any overlap on that end, either.

Organizers have also decided to avoid holding the festival on the July 31-Aug. 2 weekend when Montreal's Osheaga and Chicago's Lollapalooza happen. In fact, the only other major North American festivals taking place the same weekend are Hillside in Guelph, Ontario, the Calgary Folk Fest and the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island.

As for the location, Burl's Creek has had some successes and drawbacks over the years following the closure of Barrie's Molson Park. In 2009, City-TV reported the Virgin Festival was forced to relocate from Burl's Creek to Toronto's Molson Amphitheatre due to poor ticket sales.

"Since we announced the details for Virgin Festival Ontario ticket sales haven't been what we had hoped for," Virgin Festival Canada director Andrew Bridge said at the time. "We asked festival-goers why and they said that although the line-up and intended site are both awesome, they wanted the festival to return to Toronto this year to make it easier to access."

In 2008, Jack Johnson staged a concert there which, according to the Orillia Packet & Times, had 30,000 attend, though the show came with some logistical problems for commuters.

However, it appears those issues are being dealt with. Stan Dunford, the majority shareholder of Republic Live, told the Orillia newspaper additional land surrounding the concert grounds has been purchased to deal with those issues. "I'm very cognizant of doing it right," Dunford said. "We don't want to bring anything of risk. Money is secondary as that part of it."

In 2012 the Tragically Hip and Death Cab For Cutie staged a Canada Day concert at the location while in 2011 the CMT Music Festival featured performances by Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts.

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