By Keith Sharp
The key to 15 years of continued success at London’s Rock The Park Music Festival is Promoter Brad Jones’ ability to keep his finger on the pulse of ever changing musical trends.
Kicking off this Wednesday at the city’s Harris Park venue, the four-night festival will feature two lineups of current alternative rock bands like Shinedown,, Chevelle, Australia’s The Lazys, Machine Gun Kelly and Bobnoxious the first night and Texas King, Pop Evil, Three Days Grace, Theory Of A Dead Man and Rise Against on Saturday July 14.
Sandwiched in between is an 80’s Revival Night Thursday July 12 featuring Cyndi Lauper, Poison’s Bret Michaels, Howard Jones, A Flock Of Seagulls and
Mr Mister’s Richard Page supported by Platinum Blonde and Kim Mitchell and a 90’s Pop Night Friday July 13th with Boys II Men, En Vogue, Naughty By Nature, Coolio, Montell Jordan and Sisqo
Originally launched as a Classic Rock Festival July 22-24 2004, sponsored by Hawk 103.9 featuring the likes of Alice Cooper, Foghat, Edgar Winter and Steppenwolf, Jones notes this trend continued for the next 10 years before interest in a three-night event started to wane.
“There were drastic economic changes in the London area, companies like Kelloggs and Ford Motors closed their local operations which meant we had to
appeal to a wide range of musical tastes,” Jones noted. “So we introduced a country night, sponsored by BX93, pop and alternative rock and a lot had to do with sponsoring radio stations. FM 96 is our sponsoring rock station but we also work with Virgin Radio and we book bands that reflect their playlists.”
For this year, Jones has decided to drop the country music night as he feels that type of music Is already getting over exposed in the London Area. “There has been six country music
shows at the Budweiser Gardens this year and then there’s country music at the Lucknow and Trackside festivals, there’s just far too many country music shows going on elsewhere.”
Instead, Jones has elected to jump on the 80’s band wagon and devote one night to artists like Bret Michaels, Cyndi Lauper, Howard Jones, A Flock Of Seagulls and Richard Page. “It
seems all the Eighties bands are touring again so we felt we needed to jump at that opportunity,” Jones noted.
Jones also assembles his lineups by also working with other festivals like the Ottawa Blues Festival, D’Ete Quebec, Cavendish and even festivals in Lansing Michigan and the Peterborough Music Festival. “In the past we have block booked artists like Keith Urban for a number of festivals, we did the same this year with a group of Casino buyers for Boys 11 Men and even smaller festivals like Peterborough. Maybe Tracey Randall (event organizer) can’t afford our main acts but she can afford support acts like Howard Jones and A Flock Of Seagulls.”
Jones believes the key to his festival’s success is that for a $53 daily ticket fans can see six or seven great acts. “We may not have the big, marquee name but we always seem to put a nice package together.”
Another aspect of the festival that Jones takes pride in is the various charities that have benefitted from Rock The Park. “We take pride in the fact that we have raised over $3 million dollars for local charities., “he says. “Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Make A Wish, Brendan’s Hockey Trust and the local Western Mustangs’ football team will all benefit from this year’s festival.” For further ticket and scheduling information, please link to https://rockthepark.ca/site/