One of the big-ticket events at the upcoming Canadian Music Fest wasn’t supposed to require a ticket at all: on May 3, the long-running (and, until this year, winter-scheduled) festival was to celebrate its move into springtime with a free outdoor show at Yonge-Dundas Square on May 3 headlined by electro-rap provocateur M.I.A. However, last night, CMF announced that, “due to unforeseen logistical issues,” the show has been relocated—to Tattoo (567 Queen St. W.), a venue that holds less than 5 per cent of Yonge-Dundas Square’s 10,000-person capacity.
To avoid a complete crowd clusterfuck the night of the show, CMF is giving fans two opportunities to secure one of 400 available spots in advance. On Wednesday, April 30, at 6 p.m., 200 special wristbands allowing “front-of-line access” to the concert will be doled out at Tattoo. Then, on Thursday, May 1, the other 200 spots will be given away through the festival’s online concert-lottery system (which is restricted to people who have already purchased a CMF wristband). In both cases, only one wristband/guest-list spot will be granted per person.
UPDATE, APRIL 24, 2014, 2:45 P.M.: Cameron Wright, Festival Manager for CMF has shed some light on the sudden venue switcheroo. “There were various things,” he tells The Grid. “This being our first year in the Square and it being the beginning of May, there were concerns about the weather. And if you’ve seen videos of M.I.A. on this tour, she has intricate production pieces, and that stage isn’t weatherproofed at all. So there were production concerns, there were concerns with the police and road closures. Ultimately, we wanted to do outdoor stuff throughout the week [at Yonge-Dundas Square], but we could only get the one day, and that made the cost to just go in for one day really expensive. It was a case where A + B + C weren’t really feeling that great, so we had a talk with M.I.A.’s agent and said, ‘Let’s do something really raw and exclusive and super-memorable.’ Every single [large] venue in the city was already booked for that night, so we went with Tattoo because it’s getting a new look in the city, and M.I.A. was into the idea. It’s still a free show. It’s something special for her fans.”
Photo: Bjorn Larsson Rosvall/AP Photo