UPCOMING VIRTUAL HOUSE CONCERTS INCLUDE DIGGING ROOTS, OKAN, LAILA BIALI, SKRATCH BASTID, PAUL CHIN, ALEX CUBA, KOBO TOWN AND MORE
Toronto, ON – April 15, 2020 – After a buzz-building start livestreaming shows from empty venues, URGNT is continuing their upwards trajectory of empowering the Canadian music scene as the country’s first online venue. Today, they announce their season lineup of artists and community co-presenters from across Ontario.
As many DIY performances continue to stream across social media channels since the onset of the pandemic, URGNT is enlisting artists to deliver a unique, intimate virtual venue of their own. By filming from multiple cameras, adding virtual tours of their homes while performing fan favourites as well as new material; URGNT LIVE is cultivating a new livestream experience.
This Friday, April 17 at 7 pm ET, JUNO Award-winning Indigenous duo, Digging Roots, will take the stage in their Barrie home to deliver their first performance since the quarantine started, in addition to a performance by Toronto indie rock artist, Clamp, presented by Tonight! Live Happenings.
The diverse season lineup includes JUNO Award-winning Jazz artist, Laila Biali, Latin Grammy winner, Alex Cuba, award-winning DJ and turntablist, Skratch Bastid, Polaris-nominated producers, Paul Chin and SoCalled (separate sets), JUNO Award-winning Caribbean music group, Kobo Town, and more. These will be presented alongside community organizations offering generous support, among them Unity Charity, The Royal Conservatory of Music, TD Sunfest, Kultrún World Music Festival, Hillside Festival, Small World Music, Northern Lights Festival Boreal, and more – see below for all details. Maclean's, who has been on board with the project since day one, is the national media sponsor and will also stream all shows.
The month of weekly Friday concerts will be capped off by a 10-show "festival" on May 8 supported by Music Together, a relief fund created by Celebrate Ontario and the Slaight Foundation. Apart from offering 150 artists $1000 each to livestream content, Music Together chose 15 curators across the province to put forward 10 artists that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. URGNT headlines the curator series, presenting the final 10 artists of the 300 supported artists on May 8.
URGNT has also started laying the groundwork for a national series starting May 15 including festival partners from all provinces of Canada.
Recent URGNT performances featured award-winning opera star, Measha Brueggergosman, international music collective, Moskitto Bar, JUNO-winning Mexican-Canadian guitarist, Quique Escamilla, Indie Folk duo, Moscow Apartment, Brazilian Forro artist, Zeca Polina, and a Hip Hop showcase with StayOutLate and Quincy Morales. See below for an updated schedule, and tune in via Maclean’s, Facebook and the URGNT website. You can support URGNT and their artists through their GoFundMe campaign.
URGNT LIVE is a music movement aiding Canadian artists and industry through livestreamed community performances during the COVID-19 crisis. Founded in Toronto by Mark Marczyk, known for his work as ringleader of the city’s guerrilla-folk party-punk icons, Lemon Bucket Orkestra. What began as a call out in a Facebook post has been growing rapidly as an initiative Marczyk established less than a month ago alongside long-term colleagues and key community members, Kathleen Ryan, Jaash Singh, Tamar Ilana, Alex Bordokas and Oksana Hawrylak. Kathleen Ryan is URGNT’s Head Of Production, with experience working for numerous organizations and notable events, including the JUNOs.
URGNT compensates all artists for short 20-minute sets performed as solo house concerts/virtual home tours, curating some of Canada’s best musicians who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. URGNT has also opened up a call for artists to submit their live sets.
About URGNT LIVE
URGNT LIVE is a Toronto-based online venue. What started as livestream series in empty venues created in response to the COVID-19 outbreak has quickly adapted to promote social distancing and create a curated platform to present and support the best of the country's musicians together with cancelled festivals and presenters. URGNT's goals are: to unify the arts industry in Toronto in a safe and creative way; to raise money to pay a nominal fee to all involved parties to help with lost gigs and wages as a result of the quarantine; to document and catalogue this unique period in history; and to make compelling content available to audiences when they need it most.
URGNT is in need of support to highlight the spirit of Canada's diverse music scene, emphasizing the importance of staying connected and supporting the people who create the music that gets us through extreme situations. For all the negative effects of the Coronavirus, URGNT is an opportunity to show just how incredible our arts community is through its people and places, so that when people do ultimately come out of quarantine, they are inclined to be more active.
“We want to be strong advocates for diverse representation, which is part of the city and country we love, so we've already been reaching across genre, cultures, and identities, but now we've managed to bring cancelled festivals into the equation, too” Marczyk says. “Now you can go to festivals all across the province without leaving your own home. And soon, we'll have artists from coast to coast and across the territories streaming to your homes too. This health crisis is a terrible thing - our choice is to respond with urgent creativity as a community and to use this challenge as an excuse to come closer together despite physical distance."
- Friday, April 17 – Tonight! Live Happenings presents Clamp – 7 pm ET
- Friday, April 17 – International Indigenous Music Summit and Global Toronto present Digging Roots – 7 pm ET
- Friday, April 24 – Unity Charity presents Paul Chin – 7 pm ET
- Friday, April 24 – Ashkenaz Festival and TO Live present SoCalled – 7 pm ET
- Friday, May 1 – Clear Mortifee – 7 pm ET
- Friday, May 1 – Kultrún World Music Festival presents Alex Cuba – 7 pm ET
Friday, May 8 in association with Music Together – 7 pm ET:
- Northern Lights Festival Boreal presents G.R. Gritt
- TD Sunfest presents OKAN
- Folk Camp Canada presents Ori Shalva
The Royal Conservatory of Music presents Stewart Goodyear
Unity Charity presents Britta B
Ottawa Chamber Fest presents Gryphon Trio
TD Sunfest presents Laila Biali
Hillside Festival presents Scott Merritt
Small World Music presents Meesha Shafi