Live music is coming North this spring. Never has Newmarket seen anything like this. One of our very own entrepreneurs partnered with a local business on a fresh new project. The result: the Mercedes-Benz Newmarket Juno Concert Series. Do not miss this extravaganza.
I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Joseph Meehan regarding this project. We explored his love for his hometown, his passion for Canadian music and his vision for expanding the music scene in the York region. Here are some paraphrased highlights of our interview.
PLK: Tell me a little about yourself.
JM: I grew up in Newmarket, lived there until the early 1960’s. We were a big Irish Catholic family with six of us, if you will. This beautiful little town of 6,000 people was safe, you didn’t lock your doors, and you knew everybody. At high school age we moved to Toronto. I went on to university and then business school. I worked in the corporate world for years. I eventually started my own business called Infoshow (a point of purchase technology and retail promotional campaign that helps launch new products). Over the years I’ve lived and worked in many other countries, most recently Panama. I decided to return to Newmarket, now expanded to a 90,000-population base, and it is still a delightful little town. My son and four grandchildren live across the road from me which is wonderful.
PLK: What is your interest in this project, how did it get going?
JM: I am a live music nut. I realized there were no opportunities for this in Newmarket. Most of the local population go downtown Toronto for entertainment. I recently had lunch with a lifelong friend Bill Heffernan, who is a singer songwriter known well in the industry. I asked him how we could bring music to Newmarket. Billy said he could get the artists up here into the area. When I called Mercedes Benz Newmarket they jumped in immediately. I also partnered with Paradigm Events and Central Counties Tourism/Visit YDH (York Durham Headwaters). Everyone has been great to work with!
PLK: How will the evening look and who are the featured artists?
JM: The target is a local audience, weeknights, affordable, home before 11 pm idea. It will be sophisticated and upscale. We are interested in quality. We hope to have a bagpipe entrance, have the mayor speak and some other local dignitaries. We’ll have local craft beer and fine wine. The band will play two sets each night. We’ll bring in Juno award winners, Juno nominated acts, and up-and-coming talent, one a month for three months. We expect that 15 local vendors will benefit.
The super talented lineup includes:
April 14th– Donne Roberts, who plays energetic folk funk blues and rock fusion with his band.
(see press release for further details on the fabulous musicians)
PLK: Why this venue?
JM: We were looking for an iconic venue in the heart of Newmarket. The Old Town Hall (circa 1883) hosts 170 people, it has great sound, a big stage, and a central location. It also had a recent multimillion dollar upgrade. It is a super venue.
PLK: How is the planning going so far?
JM: This was easy, this was not complicated. Canada has a goldmine of musical talent. I am interested in helping these musicians gain exposure. We hope this first series goes well; we assume it will get better with repetition. It all came together in an organic manner so far. “Opportunity comes to the prepared mind” , to quote my father.
PLK: What are your expectations?
JM: My vision is large. My gut instinct is we’ve got a winner here. Let’s get through the first three dates, and do our market research, have a flawless execution, and learn from these. I think what we have is a totally transferable business model. We’re hoping we can take this into a September, October, and November series with three more artists. We hope to sign them up for multiple gigs. If this goes well, we can expand to a broad-scale basis. Everyone is gonna win, the community and the artists. We want to meet their expectations.
PLK: What would you like to emphasize most to the public?
JM: This is classic Canadiana, quality live music, craft beer, fine wine, local food, all in a beautiful setting. It’s community building where everybody wins. It’s about also Canadian talent recognition. The ultimate goal is to compensate the artists. We’ll create an opportunity for the musicians to get discovered and compensated. When we get that business model confidently built, tested, and proven we can roll out with gusto.
Joe makes special mention of Mercedes Benz Newmarket for their generous support.
It was such a pleasure chatting with Joe regarding this unique project. His enthusiasm, love for his hometown and live music was refreshing and contagious. You won’t want to miss this exciting music series in Newmarket this spring. Tickets for each event are only $47. Call the Box Office Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 905-953-5122 or visit the NewTix website at: www.newtix.ca.