Professional Sound - August 2017 - Page 27

When popular Canadian rock band Billy Talent took to the stage at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, ON, on June 3 rd , it was a signifi- cant sign that the city was finally turning a corner. It was a step toward fulfilling its promise of becoming a more music-friend- ly city following a half-century ban on sta- dium concerts. All the locals know the story of the infamous Pink Floyd riot of 1975. It was the final show of the band’s Wish You Were Here Tour, which saw 55,000 people pack into the old Ivor Wynne Stadium. The band’s pyrotechnics literally burned down the scoreboard and the unruly crowd spilled over into the surrounding area. Hundreds of neighbours complained of public drunkenness and drug use, public sex, concert-goers passed out or urinating on lawns, and, of course, lots of noise. One St. John’s Ambulance first aid attendant told city council in 1999 that around 125 people were brought to hospital and dozens more were treated on site. Needless to say, the city government wasn’t impressed and council voted to ban stadium concerts. There have been a couple of excep- tions since then, such as a Rush concert in 1979 and Blue Rodeo playing a short set after a Tiger Cats game in 2001, and a few other shows have been approved but did not materialize. But for the most part, the ban stood for decades. But now, with a new stadium, Tim Hortons Field, replacing the decrepit Ivor Wynne in 2014 and the city government embracing music like nev- er before – including the opening of the Hamilton Music & Film Office and the city council approving a Music City Strategy – those crusty folks in city hall are not just tolerating large-scale open-air concerts, but actually welcoming them. Billy Talent’s show at Tim Hortons Field – which featured support acts Danko Jones, Teenage Head, and Rules – was a true community effort that involved many people and entities. Officially called Home Field, the show, it’s hoped, will be the first of a series of concerts billed as co-produc- tions of the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger Cats foot- ball team, which calls the stadium home, and the Supercrawl festival. Of course, staging large music events isn’t anything new for Supercrawl, which stages the city’s signature outdoor indie music and arts festival. Since launching in 2009, Super- crawl has grown to encompass dozens of city blocks for three days each September with art installations and multiple stages that host big name bands that newcomers are surprised to find at a free event, such as Broken Social Scene, Passion Pit, Owen Pallett, Spoon, K’naan, Monster Truck, The Strumbellas, and more. The Home Field concert wasn’t a full- scale stadium show, but instead was the inaugural event for “West Side Studio at Tim Hortons Field,” which sees the stage set up at centre field facing the west-side stands for a more intimate, 7,000-capcity “venue within a venue” that mixes a general admission area on the field and lower bowl seating. 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