80’s Retro Acts Targets Ex Lineups


By Keith Sharp

Every Spring, Toronto’s CNE events co-ordinator, Danielle Bourre is faced with the daunting task of filling in the 17 concert dates which constitute the Bandshell’s CNE event schedule between Friday August 17th and Sunday September 2nd.

Her challenge is to enlist a wide variety of talent which will appeal to the wide demographic reach of visitors to the annual late summer exhibition.

“It never gets any easier,” noted Bourre after announcing her 2018 schedule. “All the agents who are contacting me are also negotiating with every other festival and exhibition so booking each year’s schedule is always a challenge.”

With the onslaught of 80’s retro acts invading North American venues, Bourre has been successful in luring the likes of (former Styx frontman), Dennis DeYoung, Heart sister Nancy Wilson, Blood Sweat & Tears, and Kansas to this year’s Bandshell.

There is always a healthy quotient of domestic talent on tap with Vancouver’s Mariana’s Trench, Montreal’s Men Without Hats (with Burlington’s The Spoons), Bedouin Soundclash, The Trews, Moist and Big Sugar featured along with alternative band Hollerado and Stars.

The Washboard Union


Country Music will be represented by Emerson Drive with Kelly Prescott and The James Barker Band with Washboard Union while ethnic tastes will be served by reggae star Freddie McGregor and Indian rapper Fateh who is now based in Toronto. Also of special interest is a performance of Classic Album’s Live of Led Zeppelin 111.

Bourre’s plight is shared by a number of other Exhibition planners who are all battling each other to attract big name talent to their respective venues.

Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition has 15 spots to fill between Saturday August 18th and Monday September 3rd and has also zeroed in on 80’s icons to supplement domestic and Country Music artists.

Headlining this year’s top draws are Boyz 11 Men, Air Supply, The Go Go Dolls, An I Love The 90’s featuring Salt N Pepa, All For One, Color Me Bad and Young MC, A Lost 80’s Theme featuring A Flock Of Seagulls, Men Without Hats, Wang Chung, Animotion and Nu Shooz, Kool And The Gang, Chicago. Wilson Phillips, Village People and Cyndi Lauper.


Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper


Canada is represented by Jann Arden, Burton Cummings, Mariana’s Trench and Country Star Dean Brody.

Of the other Exhibitions happening in August; Edmonton’s Klondike Days, occurring between August 20th and 29th features The Beach Boys, Ice Cube, The Village People and Cheap Trick with Mariana’s Trench, Billy Talent and Walk Off The Earth providing CanCon representation.

The Saskatoon Ex, running August 7th to August 11th will feature Carly Rae Jepson, Mariana’s Trench (they are everywhere!), April Wine, Trace Adkins and Tim Hicks while Regina’s Queen City Ex running

August 1st to August 5th will headline The Arkells, Burton Cummings, Kip Moore, Craig Morgan and The Regina Symphony presents the music of Prince:

For complete lineups of all of the above Exhibitions, please link to the following contacts:



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