The pandemic is going ... going ... almost gone, and Trixstar Productions is opening up live outdoor concerts in anticipation of pent-up demand.
The Together Again Concert Series is billed as the first major outdoor Canadian concert series emerging out of the pandemic. For organizers it’s a celebration of riding through tough times and showcasing how large events can come back safely while supporting businesses, artists, and charities.
"Music is an important part of bringing people together, and connecting is fundamental for our health," said Trixstar president Mike Anderson.
“We’re making it safer and more intimate while creating more space and keeping the same excitement you’d expect (from) seeing your favourite bands perform live on stage.”
The event management company has landed about a dozen big names playing diverse genres and lineups. They range from Five Alarm Funk, The Jerry Cans, Serena Ryder, and The Rural Advantage, to The Trews, Bif Naked, Alan Doyle, Our Lady Peace, and Mother Earth.
Two St. Albert country artists are “super excited” to perform at the Together Again Outdoor Concert Series at the Race Track Infield on Edmonton Exhibition Lands (formerly Northlands Park) in August.
Hailey Benedict is one of the early acts opening for Blue Rodeo on Aug. 21, while Dan Davidson performs Aug. 22 as a featured opener for Dean Brody.
Eager to return to work, Benedict said, “So many people lost jobs in the entertainment industry. This is almost a bittersweet moment to get to this place. But I was so grateful they (Trixstar) reached out to me and are giving me an opportunity after one year of no live shows.”
Limited in her work choices by public-health restrictions, she has spent the last year writing more than 100 new songs and singing at virtual concerts.
“I’m super stoked about getting back together with my band – Cody Mack (bass), Brad Durand (drums), and Josh Ruzycki (electric guitar). It’s been about a year since I’ve seen them,” said Benedict, who is prepping a 30-minute set.
Meanwhile, one month ago Dan Davidson released a video for his popular song, Roll With It, featuring The Road Hammers. An anthem for the pandemic, the driving song hit number 22 on Australia’s country charts.
Hankering to tour Down Under, Davison said, “I’d love to go. I’m ready, but all agents are still hesitant about making this stuff happen.”
One of Alberta’s more fortunate singer-songwriters, Davidson is booked to open for Jade Eagleson at the Calgary Stampede on July 16. And, as for the Together Again concert, Davidson is excited to be reunited with The Road Hammers.
Describing their amicable partnership, he said, “I’ve recorded three of their songs and they’ve played with me.”
Anderson said the concert series was 14 months in the making while they attempted to determine what a post-COVID world would look like.
“We reinvented the whole concert experience. We stripped it down and built it back from scratch,” he said.
The concert area is 350,000 square feet with enough space to distance tables two metres apart for about 6,000 people. Safety measures include limited capacities to ensure social distancing. Reserved tables for up to six people receive food and beverage service. Food can be ordered right from a smart phone and delivered directly to the table.
Tickets are on sale for two, four, or six people at $59 per person at TogetherAgainYeg.ca. Two dollars from every ticket sold will be donated to Edmonton's Boyle Street Community Services and Hope Mission to support men, women, and children living in poverty.
Below is the complete lineup of artists:
Aug. 6: Five Alarm Funk, The Jerry Cans, DJ Shub, Shawnee Kish, Halcyon Gray
Aug. 7: Serena Ryder, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Nuela Charles, Carter & The Capitals, Shaela Miller
Aug. 8: The Trews, 54-40, Bif Naked, Kane Incognito, Stephanie Harpe Experience
Aug. 21: Blue Rodeo, Alan Doyle, Captain Tractor, Hailey Benedict and more
Aug. 22: Dean Brody, The Road Hammers, Jess Moskaluke, Dan Davidson, Alee
Aug. 29: Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth, Danko Jones, Royal Tusk, Whale & The Wolf