London City of MusicSpectators gather at the first London CIty of Music free concert series at the downtown Fanshawe Campus on Dundas Street. The shows are being put on by a number of community partners alongside the London Music Office. June 6, 2024 (Photo by Ryan Drury)

City of Music concert series launches in London

The new City of Music concert series got underway on June 6 at Fanshawe's downtown campus.

The local music event will run for free on Thursday nights at the campus stage on Dundas Street next to the Convent Garden Market.

London Music Office Director Cory Crossman says the concert series was supported by the city and a number of local partners with the purpose of showcasing local and even international artists. Crossman says as the only UNESCO City of Music in Canada, they have a responsibility to make music accessible.

"It's about supporting local but it's also about creating an opportunity for national and even international artists to come play here in London. So this is the first of 12 shows that we are doing on Thursday nights, but we also have a series we're supporting, the London Jazz Hub is actually doing them here on Sundays, so there's free shows Thursdays and Sundays here," Crossman explained.

Crossman says the shows are also about ensuring that many local people who are part of, or want to be part of, the live music industry get a chance to involve themselves in the special events.

"So we have a different presenter each week putting on the shows, booking the artists and getting a bit of mentorship in terms of putting an event together and it's free and accessible. So we're getting the community together, giving the artists a space to play, getting promoters and opportunity to promote and giving sound technicians and people who are looking to work in music, this is kind of a launching pad for that," added Crossman.

Without the support from the city and a number of different partners, Crossman says they would never be able to host an event like this all summer.

"We have true community investment from great community partners, whether it's Dundas Place, Tourism London, Fanshawe, our friends at Canada's Music Incubator, they've been helping out a lot with this. But it starts with the space, right? Then, the community players really come and step up," Crossman enthused. "We have a deep history here, and I think events like this really show the depth of the community, and just all the community players that are willing to support this City of Music designation."

In terms of what Crossman would like everyone to take away from the great lineup of free shows over the summer, he says it's very simple: support local artists.

"I want people enjoying themselves, seeing great music, connecting with friends and family. Also getting invested in the music community. There's so many great artists here and across this country, but I think it's really important to support your local music community, to get out and really experience it. Especially over the summer, there's so much incredible programming," Crossman pointed out.

More information can be found on the website.

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