Troubadour downtown Oshawa Concert Series goes indoor in 2022 at the Biltmore Theatre

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Published May 24, 2022 at 10:31 am

Rick Kerr is excited.

The Oshawa Regional Councillor for Ward 4 launched the Troubadour Concert Series last year as a way to bring people downtown on Saturday night for free concerts on pedestrian-only Victoria Street, adjacent to the Regent Theatre.

But the event was plagued by weather issues, and though Kerr was able to re-schedule the two shows that were rained out, he knew he wanted a better option.

That and the Regent – owned by Ontario Tech University – had scheduled a series of theatrical productions through the summer. Having outdoor concerts right outside its walls would have been a bit of problem, Kerr noted.

Enter the Biltmore Theatre, Oshawa’s newest – and oldest – concert venue, fully restored to its 1940s glory and conveniently located right across the street from the Regent Theatre.

Now Kerr can organize free concerts with no danger of rainouts.

“I hate cancellations. People would look at the weather and think, ‘well, it might rain’ and they wouldn’t show up,” he said. “I didn’t want that uncertainty. If you want to build up the audience, you need certainty.”

The bonus is the Biltmore is spectacular 600-seat venue and Kerr is quite familiar with the staff. “The Biltmore is a fabulous space. I know the people that work there and they are great to work with.”

(Jeff Davis, the Marketing Director at the Biltmore, was one of the people behind a series of free outdoor music events held one block west of Victoria Street in 2020, which led to Kerr launching the Troubadour Series in 2021.)

The Troubadour Series will run every Saturday from June 11 through to July 16 for free, all-ages concerts featuring the best of the local music scene.

Kerr is also working with local restaurants to offer dinner and show packages.

“You can go to downtown Toronto and drop a couple hundred bucks or more easily. Here you can get a nice dinner and then enjoy a free show at the Biltmore. It’ll be great for the downtown.”

Kerr plans on running theme nights for the concert series, starting with Country Night June 11 with Jackson Fox and New Moon Junction, followed by Heavy Metal Night June 18 with Last Demand, Crawl, Valyear and OMA-nominee Judgement. June 25 will be Celtic & Canadiana Night with Poor Pelly, The Irelands and local favourites The Doozies.

He is also trying to line up some Oshawa Music Award-nominated bands for a Battle of the Bands on either July 9 or 16 and perhaps a Songwriters Night on the other night.

“It’s all great original music and I’d like to promote the up-and-comers.”

Atria Developments is a recent addition to the sponsor list, which already included Durham Tourism, Tribute Communities, Durham College, The Biltmore Theatre, Long and McQuade’s and The OMAs.

“They totally got it when I explained the concept,” Kerr said of his discussions with Hans Jain and his team at Atria.

The concerts will run from 4 to 9 p.m.

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