live music toronto

People are working on getting live music back to Toronto patios this summer

Patios in Toronto are preparing to open up for CafeTO, but the question remains: What will be the soundtrack for our one-dose summer? 

Last summer, singing and dancing was forbidden on patios across Ontario. 

For a brief moment in August, patio concerts were allowed again. Indoor live shows were permitted under Stage 3, but few venues saw the point of installing the pricey Plexiglass barriers and booking concerts at half capacity.

A lineup of concerts has been announced for Toronto this fall, but that's months away.

Still, performers are going to perform, and the lack of venues hasn't stopped musicians from hitting parks and sidewalks to serenade us with some needed tunes. 

Now a new pilot project is proposing that restaurants in Toronto can help resuscitate the city's dead live music scene by hosting performances on their outdoor patios. 

The Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC) has just put forward a letter to the City recommending the pilot program, which could see live music and entertainment "with limited amplification" (a.k.a. no blaring loud DJ sets) on certain outdoor patios.

"As you know, artists, promoters and venues have been among the hardest hit by the difficult but important measures that shape our fight against COVID-19," said city councillor and Chair of TMAC, Brad Bradford, in a statement. 

The city's live music scene was already hurting prior to the onset of the pandemic, with venues folding in quick succession. We lost even more performance spaces in 2020

Though Mayor John Tory announced a $1.7 million property tax relief fund for 45 local live music venues last year, there's been a push for better infrastructure to support those spaces as Toronto slowly reopens. 

TMAC is also pushing for the City to give businesses clearer info around any additional licenses that may be required for venues to prepare for reopening in September 2021. 

"Toronto's live music scene is a cornerstone of our culture," tweeted Bradford. "And we need to do more to ensure its strong recovery from the pandemic." 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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