dermot kennedy toronto

Irish busker holds concert in Toronto park after opening gig for Shawn Mendes cancelled

What was supposed to be a huge career milestone for an Irish musician in Toronto ended up as a quirky gig at a popular local park.

Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy was scheduled to open for Toronto icon Shawn Mendes at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday night in front of thousands of fans. 

But, due to mental health concerns, Mendes had cancelled the rest of his North American tour leg — leaving Kennedy without a chance to perform in our city.

But that didn't damper his spirits.

Kennedy held a charity concert at Trinity Bellwoods Park instead, where thousands of local fans came out to support the unplugged and intimate evening event.

Photos from the set show swarms of devoted fans gazing up at Kennedy, clad with a microphone and his acoustic guitar.

Fans were encouraged to bring a few dollars, all of which were donated to The Unison Fund, a Canadian charity that provides counselling and emergency relief for local musicians.

A quick search on social media showed a few surprised park-goers stumbling upon the busking fest, while other, more dedicated admirers sprinted from their places of work to make it in time for the 6 p.m. show.

"Toronto I love you!!! You've supported me so beautifully for so long," read Kennedy's most recent Tweet, thanking his dedicated fans.

"I can't believe how many people were there yesterday. Thank you thank you thank you so much."

Lead photo by

Dermot Kennedy

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Music

Scotiabank Arena cleared out Harry Styles fans who camped overnight outside venue

Olivia Rodrigo is coming to Toronto next month but not for a concert

Alicia Keys surprises Toronto fans with live appearance at Eaton Centre store

Toronto dancer gets shoutout from Janet Jackson after years of trying to get her attention

Toronto Bike Share rentals are so confusing even a mega rock star couldn't figure it out

Drake reveals the softest face tattoo in the history of rap

Toronto Afro-Caribbean music festival completely cancelled just three days out

Toronto's Kingston Music Festival offers apology and major surprise for ticket holders