Virtual concerts announced for first phase of program aimed at reviving live music in London

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Correction: A previous edit of this story stated that Call the Office had closed its doors for good. The venue closed indefinitely in November, but its owners have said they hope to reopen in the spring or summer.

Several local organizations have teamed up for a new program they hope will bolster London’s struggling live music sector amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Unveiled on Friday, “Revive Live” is aimed at “strategically kickstarting” the safe reopening of venues and public concerts in London.

The initiative is being organized by the city-operated London Music Office, Downtown London, London Arts Council, London Economic Development Corporation, Old East Village BIA, and Tourism London.

Read more: Iconic London, Ont., venue Call The Office to close indefinitely

The first phase of the initiative will see performances broadcast from various music venues in the city over the coming months. Five free Saturday night concerts have been announced so far, with Texas King and Sarina Haggarty kicking things off on Feb. 27 at London Music Hall.

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In a statement, the city’s music industry development officer said the local live music sector was “growing steadily” up until the pandemic last March, with more than 4,700 events held every year and almost 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs filled.

“The live music industry was one of the hardest hit by this pandemic and will be one of the last to recover,” Cory Crossman said, describing music as the heartbeat of London’s cultural community. Among those notably hit by the pandemic was Call the Office, the storied downtown music venue which closed its doors indefinitely in November.

“Revive Live will jump start a portion of the local economy offering support to the live music sector on the road to recovery.”

Read more: COVID-19 emergency benefits including CRB, sickness benefit, to be extended: Trudeau

Local artists looking to take part in the initiative can make an artist profile on the London Music Office website, while venues looking to participate are asked to fill out an expression of interest form online and visit the Revive Live website for more information.

The four other performances announced as part of phase one include:

  • March 6: Sum-01 and DJ Hullewud with Partners in Health at 765 Old East;
  • March 13: The Rizdales with unspecified ‘musical guests’ from The Richmond Tavern;
  • March 20: Uptown Affair with Delta Stone Duo from Eastside Bar & Grill; and
  • March 27: Heart Attack Kids with Thunder Queens from Palasad SocialBowl.

More information can be found on the Revive Live webpage.

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