“Welcome to Toronto, Live Music Capital of North America!”


Bold proclamation? Not according to the organizers of the 14th annual North By Northeast (NXNE) Music And Film Festival & Conference. In fact, the proclamation has been attached to a live music series underway at Pearson International Airport’s Terminals 1 and 3, one of several new ventures to better promote this year’s festival, running tomorrow through Sunday.


“It’s partly an idea that we took from South By Southwest (SXSW), our sister event in Austin, Texas,” NXNE managing director Andy McLean explains. “When you get off the plane there, you see a sign that says, ‘Welcome to the music capital of the world.’


“Now we always thought that Toronto is an amazing music city. So we managed to get the Greater Toronto Airport Authority involved to support us in declaring Toronto the live music capital of North America and have some performances for people to see when they arrive at Pearson. It should become immediate apparent to all that there’s a festival taking place.”


All told, the airport gigs are a perfect introduction to the four days whereby more than 500 performers worldwide — some jetting in from as far as Australia, Japan, India, Brazil and Colombia — will play at 50 venues throughout downtown Toronto.

Names vary from the familiar (Sloan, The Trews, Bedouin Soundclash, The New Odds, Evan Dando, Money Mark, Redd Kross) to the worth-a-glimpse (India’s Menwhopause, Japan’s Ok City Ok, Cape Bretoner’s The Tom Fun Orchestra, Toronto’s D-Sisive, Vancouver’s The Real McKenzies).

“When we created this festival back in 1995, there was no MySpace or YouTube to help independent bands get new fans or create media exposure,” McLean says. “The whole idea is to experience the festival and try to take in as many new bands as possible. It’s a lot about discovery.”

Along with the live showcases, trade shows and conferences (including a celebrity interview with ‘80s hitmaker Thomas Dolby), there is also the ever-growing film festival component, highlighting music-related movies such as Global Metal (a sequel to Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey) and The Last Pogo (scenes from a late 1978 riotous punk concert at the Horseshoe). Bruce McDonald will also be filming at several locales for a sequel to his ‘96 flick, Hard Core Logo.

Tickets for individual shows are available. Additionally, wristbands and passes ranging from $19 for one-day users to $249 for a VIP Super Pass (which allows festival-goers to pre-book up to 10 showcases) can be purchased. Check out nxne.com for complete schedules.