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HockeyFest starts June 25 in London, Ont., Rock the Park postponed to 2022

Jones Entertainment Group president Brad Jones (left) and PredictMedix COO Dr. Rahul Kushwah stand by a Safe Entry Station, a screening device that will be deployed at Hockeyfest and Rock the Park. Andrew Graham / Global News

HockeyFest is set to play out this summer with a nine-city tour that kicks off in London, Ont., but the city’s Rock the Park festival will have to wait another year before it returns.

Jones Entertainment Group (JEG) announced Monday morning that HockeyFest is aiming to open on June 25 with a weekend in London, before travelling to several other cities including Detroit, Edmonton, Ottawa and Winnipeg.

“We thought what better place to start than in our hometown of London,” said JEG president Brad Jones, adding that the festival’s opening is dependent on the state of COVID-19 in Ontario during that time.

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As for Rock the Park, Jones said the concert series held in London’s Harris Park is once again postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions and will now take place from July 13 to July 16, 2022.

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He added that a number of artists who were scheduled for Rock the Park 2021 are still expected to perform the following year.

“Blink-182, TLC and Nelly — we’re working with their management right now to reconfirm them for the Thursday and Friday. The Wednesday and Saturday, we cancelled those last year,” Jones said.

“We have an offer out on what probably could be the biggest act we’ve ever had at Rock the Park, but we won’t know until probably September.”

Jones confirmed that refunds are available for those with tickets to 2021’s festival.

In the meantime, music fans in London will be able to take in the Road to Rock the Park Dinner Series this summer, which is set to kick off with a limited capacity performance by Tim Hicks on July 2. Tickets are available now from Centennial Hall.

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Monday’s announcement also revealed a new technology that will be popping up at JEG’s future events, including HockeyFest and Rock the Park.

JEG will deploy Safe Entry Stations, a collaborative effort from Toronto-based Predictmedix, Inc., and Mississauga-based Juiceworks that uses A.I. to detect several symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Predictmedix COO Dr. Rahul Kushwah says these symptoms include headache, exhaustion, sweating, changes in breathing rate, coughing and elevated temperature.

“The Safe Entry Stations, they have multi-spectral cameras, along with a proprietary configuration of sensors,” Kushwah said.

“As people are coming through, they are being screened through these multi-spectral cameras and sensors and a lot of parameters are being picked on, and those parameters are then processed by our proprietary A.I. algorithm to turn them into symptoms.”

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Jones added that if a participant screens positive for a symptom, they would then be brought to a COVID-19 rapid testing area. If they test positive for the virus, the participant, along with anyone they came together with, would be asked to leave the event.

Following Monday’s announcement, the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie said the MLHU had not been consulted on the use of Safe Entry Stations in London.

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“I have not reviewed the technology. It’s great to hear these sorts of things are becoming available, but we don’t have any more details,” Mackie said.

A full list of planned HockeyFest dates can be found below:

  • London, Ont. (June 25 – 27),
  • Summerside, P.E.I. (July 1 – 3),
  • Edmonton, Alta. (July 9 – 11),
  • Abbotsford, B.C. (July 16 – 18),
  • Regina, Sask. (July 23 – 25),
  • Ottawa, Ont. (July 30 – Aug. 1),
  • Detroit, Mich. (August – Dates to be announced),
  • Blaine, Minn. (Aug. 13 – 15),
  • Winnipeg, Man. (Aug. 27 – 29).
Click to play video: 'What Ontario’s timeline looks like for opening up this summer' What Ontario’s timeline looks like for opening up this summer
What Ontario’s timeline looks like for opening up this summer – May 17, 2021

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