When The Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie announced his terminal brain cancer last December, Canada's musical consciousness exploded.
News headlines wailed about our impending loss of a national treasure. All of a sudden, Hip hits like Ahead By A Century seemed to be playing on the radio a lot more—or maybe we were finally registering the song’s lyrics, particularly Downie's croon "No dress rehearsal /This is our life.”
Like every other maple-syrup-eating, over-apologizing Canadian, I had grand plans with friends to make the pilgrimage to Ontario this August and see the Hip make their magic one last time at their final concert in their hometown of Kingston.
And, just like every other maple-syrup-eating, over-apologizing Canadian, I was outraged when the tickets sold out in seconds to online bots, soon to be resold for thousands.
Now, Halifax’s Downtown Business Commission and the CBC are offering a solution. Today,it was announced there will be a screening of CBC’s broadcast of the Hip’s final concert live on August 20. As the CBC are turning the Grand Parade into a giant, communal living room, the buisness commission is promising a full day of events “that may include live, daytime, musical performances throughout downtown; Hip-themed programming by many downtown businesses, and the closure of Argyle Street for a day-long street party.” Culminating with the CBC's concert screening around 9pm, it might be just as good as going to the actual concert.
At the very least, it will be wonderful to see so many people come together and say goodbye to a great talent, and celebrate some of the most popular homegrown music of our time. As Downie sang in In View, “Yeah, it’s perfect/ Well it isn’t and it is.”
Keep up-to-date on the day’s events on the Business Commission's website. Fundraisers will be held throughout the day to support the Canadian Cancer Society.