London’s Park Jam Festival
By Keith Sharp
The city of London Ontario is currently enjoying a boom as a hotspot for Canadian music with the recent staging of The Juno Awards and Canadian Country Music Awards and entertainment promoter Demetri Manuel is helping to stimulate this growth by expanding his annual two-day Block Party to a seven-day Park Jam Festival featuring 40 artists covering five genres of music, held over two consecutive weekends Sept 5-8 and Sept 12-14 at the city’s Harris Park location.
Manuel, a local entrepreneur who books more than 200 shows annually at his London Music Hall facility, has enjoyed success organizing previous two-day Block Parties set to cater to returning Queens University and Fanshawe College students.
So this year he has expanded his concept to feature a series of theme nights featuring a variety of musical trends. “Traditionally the Block Party dates have featured Electronic Dance Music which appeals to the students but we realize that patrons also like other forms of music so we decided to feature a wider variety of artists,” Manuel noted.
September 5th is launched with a Rock Night which features Glorious Sons, The Beaches, Coldwater Kids and Texas Jack. September 6th features a Country Night with Brett Kissel, Meghan Patrick, Aaron Goodvin and Jojo Mason. An Alternative Night follows September 7th with Offspring, MxPx, Reel Big Fish and Seaway with a Throwback Night completing the first block of shows September 8th hosted by N Sync’s Lance Bass and featuring O Town, 98 Degrees, Aaron Carter and Spice Girls’ tribute band, Wannabe.
The more student-oriented second block kicks off September 12th with a Hip Hop Night featuring Ice Cube, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Maestro Fresh Wes and Haviah Mighty plus two nights; September 13th and 14th featuring a list of EDM stars including Deadmaus, Diplo, AC Slater, Feed Me, Ookay, Attlas, Frank Walker, No Mana, Eddie, No Fone, Slothbear and Kingzmn.
Manuel agreed that the failure of Roxodus and other festivals may have cast a dark cloud on live concerts but noted that his Block Party format has traditionally been well supported for the past nine years and with a positive spotlight shed on the city of London, it is logical to expand his own festival.
“Yes, I think London will support this expansion,” mused Manuel. “Having been successful with my London Music Hall, I know that live music is popular in this region and that we can justify expanding what has been a two-day event to a more ambitious event.”
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