URGNT Live Teams Up with Cancelled Ontario Festivals to Livestream Local Artists

After a buzz-building start livestreaming shows from empty venues, URGNT is continuing its upwards trajectory of empowering the Canadian music scene as the country’s first online venue. Today, they announced their season lineup of artists and community co-presenters from across Ontario.

As many DIY performances continue to stream across social media channels since the onset of the pandemic, URGNT is enlisting artists to deliver a unique, intimate virtual venue of their own. By filming from multiple cameras, adding virtual tours of their homes while performing fan favourites as well as new material; URGNT LIVE is cultivating a new livestream experience.

This Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET,  Juno Award-winning Indigenous duo, Digging Roots, will take the stage in their Barrie home to deliver their first performance since the quarantine started, in addition to a performance by Toronto indie rock artist, Clamp, presented by Tonight! Live Happenings.

The diverse season lineup includes Juno-winning jazz artist, Laila Biali, Latin Grammy winner, Alex Cuba, award-winning DJ and turntablist, Skratch Bastid, Polaris-nominated producers, Paul Chin and SoCalled (separate sets), JUNO Award-winning Caribbean music group, Kobo Town, and more. These will be presented alongside community organizations offering generous support, among them Unity Charity, The Royal Conservatory of Music, TD Sunfest, Kultrún World Music Festival,  Hillside Festival, Small World Music, Northern Lights Festival Boreal, and more – see below for all details. Maclean's, who has been on board with the project since day one, is the national media sponsor and will also stream all shows.

The month of weekly Friday concerts will be capped off by a 10-show "festival" on May 8 supported by Music Together, a relief fund created by Celebrate Ontario and the Slaight Foundation. Apart from offering 150 artists $1,000 each to livestream content, Music Together chose 15 curators across the province to put forward 10 artists that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. URGNT headlines the curator series, presenting the final 10 artists of the 300 supported artists on May 8.

URGNT has also started laying the groundwork for a national series starting May 15 including festival partners from all provinces of Canada.

Recent URGNT performances featured award-winning opera star, Measha Brueggergosman, international music collective, Moskitto Bar, JUNO-winning Mexican-Canadian guitarist, Quique Escamilla, Indie Folk duo, Moscow Apartment, Brazilian Forro artist, Zeca Polina, and a Hip Hop showcase with StayOutLate and Quincy Morales. See below for an updated schedule, and tune in via Maclean’s, Facebook and the URGNT website. You can support URGNT and their artists through their GoFundMe campaign.

Listen to our recent interview with URGNT LIVE founder Mark Marczyk on the Canadian Musician Podcast here — — or wherever you get your favourite podcasts.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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