HomeMusicMusic NewsRecord-Breaking 16-Day Concert to Benefit Gord Downie Fund Kicks Off Friday

Record-Breaking 16-Day Concert to Benefit Gord Downie Fund Kicks Off Friday

Tomorrow Ontario will be kicking off its attempt at a Guinness World Record by hosting the longest concert by multiple artists.

The event, which simultaneously celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday and Gord Downie’s philanthropy, will take place in Stouffville, ON. This attempt at a record will happen over the span of 16+ days, with 24-hour non-stop live music. Strict rules also apply: a maximum of five minutes is allowed between sets, 30 seconds tops between songs, and the same song cannot occur twice within a four hour period. Songs also must be two minutes or more in length, and the same artist can’t take the stage twice in one hour.

Each day represents a different charity, including 360 Kids, Artscan Circle, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, Evergreen Hospice, The Family Navigation Project, The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, Gord Downie Fund For Brain Cancer, Markham Stouffville Hospital, North Toronto Cat Rescue, Sick Kids, and Songs4Steffi.

24-hour live music isn’t the only perk, either. According to the event’s curator, Kevin Ker of Epidemic Music Group, “special events, surprise guests, giveaways, 50/50’s and a multitude of mini events within” will be offered.

In light of tomorrow’s start, Indie88 spoke with Kevin Ker about his expectations and goals surrounding an attempt at the longest concert by multiple artists. According to Ker, his initial intention to create something special for the music community quickly exploded into something “so much bigger than any of us.”

“When we set out to organize the longest concert, we never anticipated things would explode like this,” he explained. “Initially, we knew we wanted to do something meaningful. As the event grew, the charities were selected, hundreds of bands started reaching out, volunteers started showing up and the word was spreading rapidly. This has become a massive, national celebration of Canada’s 150th. It has become such an amazing outlet for bringing awareness to 16 important causes. It has put a spotlight on an incredible local music scene!”

Ker also added that if it were up to him, he would continue the event months later, just to savour the experience of it.

This past year has been an emotional one for Canadian music, with Gord Downie coming out about his terminal illness and the tremendous support he has received following that announcement. Downie’s experience with brain cancer lies at the heart of this live music event, with much of the income being donated to various charities in support of brain cancer.

“Like so many Canadians, Gord Downie has made a major impact throughout my life in a multitude of ways,” said Ker. “So many memories are infused with a soundtrack he and the Hip provided. From cottage weekends to long drives, house parties to moments of solitude.”

“Last year, watching Gord perform in the face of unimaginable adversity, was without a doubt, one of the most inspiring things I have ever witnessed.”

Does over two weeks of non-stop live music sound ideal to you? The event is still actively seeking volunteers and witnesses. Email sheanvolunteer@gmail.com to register.

Feature photo courtesy of Ryan Merkley via Flickr.

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