15 free shows and events at NXNE 2014
Free shows and events at NXNE are hard to talk trash about, especially in a city where most things cost an arm and a leg (plus tax and tip). Summer is upon us in Toronto, and among the many festivals and activities that one can partake in around the city, NXNE is one of the staple arts events, with its music programming propped up by comedy, film, art, and interactive panels. This year NXNE runs from June 13 - 22 and there are plenty of free events, many of which will get you outdoors. While the cut-off for free RSVP to Vice Island is already over, there's plenty to do on the cheap indoors and out.
Here are 2014's cheap dates at NXNE.
June 13-18 - NXNE The Photo Show - (The Black Cat Gallery, 2186 Dundas St W)
NXNE's annual photo show is back. See some of the city's best music photography as part of NXNE's art programming. Not feeling the quiet gallery-gaze vibe? The opening party is Tuesday, June 17th from 7:30pm until late.
June 13-22 - Movember
If you give your email address to Yamaha and Movember, it looks like they'll give you beer and let you talk about music (and mustaches), probably for some kind of cultural capital gathering means on their end. Yup, this looks like a music-centric focus group by a cancer charity that loves mustaches - which sounds weird enough to be fun, but only if you're funemployed or happen to be really bored this week.
June 14-21 - Park Shows
What better way to enjoy free music than to also sit outside in a park on a sunny afternoon or early evening? Parks all around the city - including Trinity Square Park in the Eaton Centre courtyard, Berczy Park in the Distillery Distinct and St. James Gazebo between Church and Jarvis - will feature lunch hour and afternoon performances. Learn more on NXNE's website.
Saturday June 14 - Girls Rock Camp Events (all ages)
Girls Rock Camp Toronto, the cool initiative that offers girls and young women a chance to learn an instrument of their choice with strong female mentors and role models has teamed up this year with NXNE for an afternoon at Harbourfront Centre. There'll be a performance with Unicorn Patrol and Brighid Fry on the Redpath Stage, a screening of Girls Rock! The Movie in the Studio Theatre and Women Who Rock! Bingo! in the Boulevard Tent.
June 16-22 - NXNE Art Outpost (Hermann & Audrey, 1506 Dundas Street West)
Hermann & Audrey on Dundas West is hosting an NXNE pop up. While the goodies aren't free, the browsing, schmoozing, DJs, and lounge atmosphere are yours for the taking. Aside from NXNE swag, there will be fashion items and fine art originals and prints - look for Eleven thirty shop, Write it Forward stationary, Province Apothecary, and Biko Jewellery. On the music end, Alixander III, Riviera, Jennifer Loveless and On Vacay are on the DJ schedule.
June 19-22 - Yonge-Dundas Square
You probably already know about the free concerts at YDS - every year, NXNE organizers manage to outdo themselves with the fantastic bands they book. This year, you can see St. Vincent, Spoon, Sleigh Bells, Swans, and tons of other fab bands. Get there early for a good spot, because you can be sure that the place gets packed. Check out our preview of highlights for this year, and (most importantly) our guide to staying sane at Y&DS.
June 19-22 - Live in Bellwoods: Great Heart Festival (Trinity Bellwoods Park)
It's back: Young Lions Music Club will hold this unofficial but friendly show in Trinity Bellwoods Park, shows run from Thursday - Sunday and of course, admission is free. One of summer's chillest spots to hang, it's also all-ages. The line up just went up 10 minutes ago - hurrah.
Thursday, June 19 - NXNE Rooftop Ruckus (Bovine Sex Club)
NXNE Comedy presents a comedy showcase on the rooftop patio of the Bovine Sex Club. Did you know they had a rooftop patio? Keith Pedro hosts, Nicholas Reynoldson headlines, and Barry Taylor, Dave Merheje, Patrick Hakeem, Chris Robinson, Marito Antonio Lopez, and Dave Weasel will be telling funnies too.
Friday, June 20 - Why We Think NXNE Sucks (Hyatt Regency Hotel Toronto)
What's wrong with NXNE? From the radius clause to not paying small bands to Sonic Bids, this panel will be led by The Garrison's Shawn Bowring. Panelists include Daniel Seligman (Pop Montreal), Paul Lawton (Ketamines, Slagging Off), and Aubrey Jax (spoiler, that's me). The cool part is the floor will be open to questions and concerns - even if your biggest problem is NXNE's lack of infographics. Takes place at 1pm in Regency A on the Mezzanine floor.
June 21-22 - In-Store Concerts at Sonic Boom (Sonic Boom - Annex)
You know the drill - except this is the last time you can enjoy NXNE in a record shop attached to Honest Ed's before Sonic Boom moves to Spadina. Dusted, Cities Aviv, Beta Frontiers, and Creep Highway play on Saturday with sets beginning between 2pm - 5pm, and Army Girls, Baby Eagle (Steve Lambke of Constantines), Courtney Barnett and Weaves play on Sunday, same times.
Saturday, June 21 - Queen West Gap in-store
If you happen to be shopping for new basics at the Gap (375 Queen Street West, at Queen W. and Peter St.), go on Saturday June 21 when Craft Spells (4pm), Beach Day (3pm) and Joywave (2pm) will be playing an in-store. It would be really rude not to request "Mellow Yellow" (kidding, don't do that).
Saturday, June 21 - Amsterdam 416 Block Party (25 Kensington Ave)*
This block party in Kensington Market is "happening during NXNE weekend" and it's $10* to enter (sorry) - but how could we not spill the dirty on free beer? The block party is on a "secret patio" around the back of 25 Kensington, with music via "Branko Scekic DJ Brank-Oh" (okay) and Chef Brook Kavanagh's Ceviche Cones on the roof. All you can drink beer if you've got 10 bones, just saying.
Sunday, June 22 - PPOP, Sonic Boom, & NXNE Presents: Of Sound Mind (Edward Day Gallery)
From 11am to 8pm on the last day of NXNE, the Festival Hub at Edward Day Gallery will host an all ages/licensed courtyard BBQ with records, labels, art, music and. Bands include Wish, Unfinished Business, Sonic Avenues, Young Mother, Greys, Carl Didur, Wizard Of.
Sunday, June 22 - Broken Pencil x NXNE Mini Zine Fair (25 Gould Street from 2:30pm to 6:00pm)
Spend your Sunday afternoon checking out Broken Pencil/NXNE's second annual mini zine/small press fair featuring Shameless magazine, Toronto Zine Library, Little Brother Magazine, Worn, Static Zine and much more.
Sunday, June 22 - NXNE's 8th Annual "Put The Boot In" Soccer Match (Lamport Stadium from 12-4pm)
Rockers vs. Rollers (aka music vs. media) face off in a soccer match to raise funds for Right to Play and DeRo Foundation and declare a winner for the "Put The Boot in" Cup. The bloodbath is free, but try to spare a ha'penny for the cause.
- The top 25 bands to catch at NXNE 2014
- The top 30 Toronto bands playing NXNE 2014
- Win Passes to NXNE Interactive
Photo from Young Lions Music Club
Writing by Wini Lo and Aubrey Jax