‘Rocking the Big House’: Kingston Penitentiary to host September concert

Click to play video 'Rocking the Big House: Kingston Penitentiary to host September concert' Rocking the Big House: Kingston Penitentiary to host September concert
The walls of Kingston Penitentiary will be rocking this summer. The United Way, in conjunction with St. Lawrence Parks Commission are hosting the first ever concert within the walls of Canada's most notorious prison. With more on the historic concert here's Paul Soucy – May 8, 2019

What do The Trews, Tom Cochrane and The Headstones have in common? A few things, but the most recent being that they’ll co-headline the first ever concert inside Kingston Penitentiary.

Rockin’ the Big House will take place September 14. The concert is a fundraiser for the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington United Way and replaces the out-going ‘Fare for Friends’ event, which is being retired after more than 20 years.

“We’re always looking, this year especially, for new and exciting things to do behind these walls,” manager of Kingston Pen Tours, Vinnie Rebelo, said.  

READ MORE: Film, television production at Kingston Penitentiary on the table

For more than a century, the penitentiary was known as Canada’s most notorious prison until it closed in 2013.

Story continues below advertisement

Since 2016, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for the United Way through public tours of the prison.

This year’s penitentiary tour season opened May 8, the same day as the concert announcement.

“Everybody just jumped on board, especially the musicians, donating their time and energy for this great cause for our community,” concert co-chair Pat Murphy said. 

About 2,500 music lovers plus staff and volunteers are expected to be in attendance on that night in September, the most people there has ever been inside the prison’s historic walls. 

READ MORE: Former senator Bob Runciman to begin new position with St. Lawrence Parks Commission

“We expect to sell out pretty quickly I think,” concert co-chair, Joanne Langlois said. “This venue is incredible, and if you combine that with the lineup that we have, and I don’t think there’s a better ticket in town.”  

The plan is to have a concert like this every year, but the location could change.  

“We’re not sure if we’ll have this venue ever again,” Murphy said.   

Tickets for the show go on sale this Saturday and range from $75 for general admission to $200 for a gold ticket, which includes a private food and drink tent.