With Closure of Non-Essential Services, URGNT Adapts Its Livestreaming Model to Keep Helping Artists

Last week it was announced that Mark Marczyk, known for his work as ringleader of Toronto’s guerrilla-folk party-punk icons Lemon Bucket Orkestra, established 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. Now, in order to keep the mission going while respecting new provincial orders to close non-essential businesses, URGNT has adapted its model.

Following three successful livestreamed concerts featuring Measha Brueggergosman, Moskitto Bar, and Quique Escamilla, URGNT is now delivering a full lineup of livestreamed solo house concerts highlighting Toronto’s emerging and prominent musicians, with indie folk band Moscow Apartment performing tonight (Friday, March 27) at 7 p.m. ET. 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.

URGNT will continue to compensate all artists for a 45-minute set, as they have moved into an ‘online venue’ format, curating the best of Ontario’s musicians who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. URGNT has also opened up a call for artists to submit a 45 minute live set. If selected, URGNT will stream it via Maclean’s, Facebook and the URGNT website, as well as the artist's fan page.

URGNT will livestream solo house concerts with an array of iconic and emerging Toronto acts, whose tours/work have been cancelled and livelihoods put at stake (among them, JUNO winners and nominees), to livestream 30-45-minute sets. Recent performances featured Soprano songstress, Measha Brueggergosman, multicultural sound ensemble, Moskitto Bar, and Mexican singer-songwriter, Quique Escamilla. Upcoming sets will include Hip Hop artist, Quincy Morales, Indie beatnik The Holy Gasp, stand-up comedian Elvira Kurt, JUNO Award-winning Indigenous blues duo, Digging Roots, vocal jazz artist Laila Biali, with more to be announced. See below for complete details.

What began as a call out in a Facebook post has been growing rapidly as an initiative Marczyk established only two weeks ago alongside long-term colleagues and key community members, Kathleen Ryan, Jaash Singh, Tamar Ilana, Alex Bordokas and Oksana Hawrylak.

“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.”

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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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