John Tory Stepped in to Save Local Great Heart Festival

The Mayor stepped in to help the acoustic event carry on despite lots of red tape

Toronto is on its way to becoming a real Music City, in large part thanks to our new mayor.

The Great Heart music festival used to be part of North by North East, but in the last few years has had to struggle through obtaining permits and paying public event fees. This year, the costs reached upwards of $2,500, but John Tory stepped in to have them lowered to $1,300.

Organizers feel the costs, however, were still too high, and that Great Heart doesn’t meet the city’s criteria for a “special event.” The four-day festival in Trinity Bellwoods Park is free, completely acoustic — no speakers or amps — and is run by an independent promotions company. They’ve also had to fund the event themselves.


Tory said he hopes this will be a learning experience for the city: there needs to be more direct communication between the parks department and Toronto’s new music office.

Great Heart will take place in Trinity Bellwoods June 18th to 21st.