TORONTO — Country singer Brett Kissel and alternative rockers Our Lady Peace are among the Canadian acts set to headline a five-weekend Ontario summer concert series that includes strict COVID-19 safety guidelines.
The organizers of the outdoor Boots and Hearts music festival revealed the first round of lineups for its Endless Summer Series, a "medium-scale" run of mini-festival events throughout August that will only sell concert passes in groups of four.
The shows, billed as a step towardsthe return of live music in the province, will start with a series of "classic rock tribute bands" on the July 30 to Aug. 1 holiday weekend.
Then the shows kick into high gear with a lineup of known country stars Aug. 6 and 7, starting that Friday with Kissel, Jess Moskaluke and Cory Marks. On Saturday, performers Tebey, David Boyd Janes and Vanessa Marie Carter round out the names on the bill.
Rock acts the Trews, the Blue Stones and Ferraro will play Aug. 13 while Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth and Monowhales take the stage on Aug. 14.
All of the concerts are slated for the Burl's Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ont., about 30 kilometres north of Barrie, a space that also accommodates overnight camping.
Weekend concert tickets will only be sold in packs of four, starting at $44.99 for the cover bands weekend and $69.99 for the other events, with an option to add camping passes for an additional fee.
Todd Jenereaux, executive vice president of Republic Live, said launching the concert series with a roster of cover bands is partly an attempt to address "an absolute shortage of camping spots" in the province.
"Campgrounds in Ontario have been booked for months," he said.
"We think that there's a great opportunity to ... appeal to both concertgoers and people that are deprived of places to go to camp this summer."
Concert tickets will be sold in four different zones with varying distance from the stage. Each area will be marked at a different price, while plans are to have each group of four designated to their own space within that zone.
The mini-festival dates come after Boots and Hearts was forced to cancel this year’s weekend celebration over uncertainty about capacity limits. It typically welcomes an audience of 40,000 over the August long weekend.
Each of the Endless Summer shows will be much smaller with only 5,000 concertgoers allowed on the premises.
COVID-19 restrictions will includephysical distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitization. Masks will be mandatory in public areas but can be taken off in the designated areas for each ticketholder's group, organizers said.
Republic Live will announce performers for the final weekends in August at a future date.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2021.
David Friend, The Canadian Press