Toronto councillor wants live music on patios this summer


Summer is fast approaching, and people are eager to see how Toronto will handle outdoor events, live music and concerts — especially those in the industry. 

Brad Bradford, Toronto city councillor and chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee (TMAC) put forth an open letter on May 19, recommending a pilot program that would allow live music on outdoor patios this summer. 

In a tweet, Bradford wrote, “Toronto’s #LiveMusic scene is a cornerstone of our culture, and we need to do more to ensure its strong recovery from the pandemic. We want to bring it back this summer with performances right on your favourite patios! Supporting local artists and revitalizing our main streets.”

TMAC’s proposal suggests that the city bring live music to outdoor patios this summer and secondly that the city review SOCAN licensing at city-owned venues and look into whether or not more venues need licensing. 

Bradford said in a statement that “artists, promoters, and venues have been among the hardest hit by the difficult but important measure that shapes our fight against COVID-19.” 

Rory McLeod, co-director and founder of Pocket Concerts in Toronto, said that he thinks, “it is a great idea to pursue bringing more music to outdoor spaces in the city,” and that “musicians are eager to play and they’re looking for every opportunity possible.” 

He hopes that the proposal will go even further and seek out funding for musicians who have been hit hard financially by COVID-19. 

Last year Mayor John Tory did promise $1.7 million in property tax relief for eligible music venues as part of the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass program to help the struggling music scene in Toronto. 

Alexander Bordokas, a producer of Dundas West Fest, agrees that this proposal is “a step in the right direction.” 

“As far as Dundas West Fest is concerned, it won’t help us bring the festival back this year, but it is a step in the right direction. We are all about live music and music culture, and it’s a big part of our identity in our neighbourhoods.” 

Bordokas said he has nothing but positive things to say about the proposal. However, he would like to see more done for the music scene in Toronto.