While some bands continue to cancel Toronto dates over SARS fears, Canada’s music elite, including Avril Lavigne, Sum 41 and Sarah McLachlan, are joining forces to battle the city’s tourism troubles, which began when the disease broke out there earlier this year.
The acts will headline a June 21 concert that will also feature Barenaked Ladies, Our Lady Peace, Glenn Lewis, Remy Shand and the Tragically Hip, according to a spokesperson for the event.
Lavigne and the others will perform at either Toronto’s Skydome or the adjacent Air Canada Centre, with all performances being broadcast on giant screens in both venues, which hold a combined 70,000 people.
“We rely on concerts to bring in a lot of tourists to Toronto in the summer, so the reason this was put together by various levels of government and promoters was [because] we saw an opportunity to give back to the city using Canadian acts, showing the world that Toronto is open for business,” said Brett Gallagher, vice president of concerts for the Skydome. “[Those of us] living here are going [on with] our normal work days. We have to be smart about it, but we’re still living life.”
Since Toronto’s outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in March, the disease has caused 27 deaths in the area and the tourism industry has lost approximately $763 million (see “SARS Continues To Affect Concerts, Promo Dates Worldwide” ).
The World Health Organization revoked a travel advisory to Toronto earlier this month, although the city has returned to a list of “areas with recent local transmission of SARS.”
The announcement of the June concert comes on the heels of Kelly Clarkson, Lisa Marie Presley and others canceling Toronto appearances. Just this week, Staind called off an autograph session and concert with Cold over fears of the reemergence of the disease.