There was a time when Jim Cuddy’s dad worried about the success of his son’s band, Blue Rodeo, Cuddy told the crowd at Toronto’s Lounge at Live Nation on Wednesday morning. A man of numbers, his father’s reasoning was based on the lack of cars in the parking lot of what today is Budweiser Stage. The now hugely successful Canadian band got its start by playing free concerts at the lakeside venue over two decades ago and has now performed a record 19 shows there.
Cuddy joined the team from Budweiser Stage and Live Nation for Wednesday’s press conference to celebrate the 25th birthday of Budweiser Stage and to introduce everything new we can expect this summer from the iconic venue that’s synonymous with summer nights to Toronto’s music lovers. Budweiser Stage – which some still affectionately refer to as the Molson Amphitheatre thanks to its longtime designation as such – has hosted some of the world’s most iconic musicians. Names like Whitney Houston, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Drake and Tragically Hip have graced the breezy outdoor stage over the years.
To mark its milestone birthday, Live Nation Canada and Budweiser Stage have a few exciting initiatives in store
The season will kick off on May 20 when the venue hosts The Strokes – marking the band’s only Canadian concert this year. This will be the band’s first Toronto concert in over a decade.
New amenities this season include the “lookout” platform from the lawn, a rooftop level in the AMEX Lounge, as well as a third level members’ club with one of the best views of the Toronto skyline in the city. Concertgoers can also expect a shiny new sound system for the lawn and expanded ride share pick-up and drop-off zones.
New this year is also a memorabilia-filled, interactive pop-up exhibit, It Happened Here, to mark the venue’s 25-year history. Taking over the empty real estate at 950 Queen St. W, the pop-up will run from April 25 to May 4. Perhaps the most exciting initiative, however, so is the ability to purchase a season’s pass ($750 CAD) for each concert this summer. Last year, the venue hosted a record of 54 concerts; you do the math.GET A SEASON PASS
This year’s confirmed concert lineup includes homegrown superstars like Sarah McLaughlin, Corey Hart, Bryan Adams and the Arkells, and a slew of international stars, like Florence + the Machine, Phish, Jimmy Buffet and Hootie & the Blowfish, to name a few.