We are all facing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic with cancelled and postponed concerts, tours, and events.
As a way to lend a helping hand in these difficult times, Mark Marczyk, known for his work as ringleader of Toronto’s guerrilla-folk party-punk icons, Lemon Bucket Orkestra is establishing URGNT – a livestream concert series for Toronto’s most active and prominent musicians to perform in some of the city’s iconic and beloved venues, as well as DIY and indie spaces.
The first show for this crowd-funded livestream is taking place March 20 at 7 p.m.via the Great hall featuring Canadian Opera singer and author, Measha Brueggergosman, who will take the stage to perform her gospel and blues music.
This event is receiving recognition from acclaimed media sponsors such as Macleans and iHeart Radio Canada who will support ongoing coverage and broadcast the first show today at 7 p.m.. The live stream link is available via URGNT.ca, Maclean’s and iHeartRadio Canada
This livestream event consists of 19 concerts in different now-empty venues across Toronto. For the next three weeks URGNT live will give artists’ who’s tours/work have been cancelled an opportunity to share their music with the rest of the world. Currently, confirmed artists include Soprano songstress Measha Brueggergosman, Mexican singer-songwriter Quique Escamilla, JUNO Award-winning Indigenous blues duo Digging Roots, indie rockers Moscow Apartment, DJ/Producer/Turntablist extraordinaire Skratch Bastid, Filipino-Canadian lyricist Han Han, Cuban soul artists Okan, Juno award-winning Allison Au Quartet, chamber music ensemble Gryphon Trio and Lemon Bucket Orkestra. Participating venues (more to be announced soon) are active community sponsors and are graciously waiving all fees to support the concert series. They include: The Great Hall, Lula Lounge, The Dakota Tavern, Wheat Sheaf, Communist’s Daughter, Drom Taberna, Today/Tonight Live Happenings Bar, 918 Bathurst, BSMT 254 and Koerner Hall.
“How can we be advocates of the whole diverse ecology of our live music sector in this time of crisis and bring attention to the artists, venues, technicians, promoters and arts workers who themselves bring value to our economy and quality of life?” Marczyk comments. “We need this. Our city needs this. The whole world needs this. Italians quarantined in apartment blocks have been having sing-alongs from their balconies. European opera houses are releasing their coveted video archives to the public. Symphonies are being performed in front of no one. We are all being creative in the face of adversity to remember our humanity. It would be nice to be creative together so that when this all passes, we can remember and be proud of what we did together to get through it.”
URGNT not only highlights Toronto’s incredible music scene, but emphasizes the importance of supporting musicians that put their life and soul into creating this beautiful music, and keeping hopes up in these trying times. URGNT is closely monitoring their GoFundMe page and acknowledges the health implications of this initiative. The team is developing a series of guidelines (including but not limited to having ample sanitation products on hand, ensuring only invited participants who don’t exhibit symptoms and haven’t travelled recently, maintain distance, even on stage), while evolving with public health recommendations.
“We want to be strong advocates for diverse representation, which is part of the city we love, so we’ve already been reaching across genre, cultures, and identities, but we also hope to hear from a number of artists in response,” Marcyzk says. “We will focus on this emptiness/space as much as the musicians themselves and highlight some of the physically distinct properties of each venue that people might not otherwise have noticed as a tip of the hat to experienced hosts. We want to set production values fairly high; 3 cameras, professional crew, quality audio mix, and hopefully at least partially employing other industry professionals who are also affected by this sudden loss of work.”
For allies, artists, venues, sound technicians, and videographers looking to get involved, please visit www.urgnt.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 647-526-5675.
Visit and support URGNT on GoFundMe