International Tours | These stars who ignore Montreal

Harry Styles and Billie Eilish, artists of undeniable popularity, have chosen to cancel rather than postpone their scheduled Montreal concert during the pandemic. Tours by Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone, The Eagles, Kid Cudi, Lil Nas X, The 1975, Lizzo, Jack Harlow and Iron Maiden bypass Montreal but make a stop in Toronto. Should this phenomenon worry Montreal fans?

Posted at 6:00 am

Gabriele Dube Roy

Gabriele Dube Roy
The press

International artists are currently concentrating on a handful of North American metropolises. André Guérette from Paquin Artists Agency confirms this. “We were all a little traumatized by the postponement of the tours, so in 2022 we wanted to try to mitigate the risks,” explains the vice president of this agency, which represents around 250 artists around the world, including Aya Nakamura, Damso and Christine and the Queens.

When planning tours, which are now made several months – even more than a year – in advance, the teams said to each other: “In order not to jeopardize a full North American tour, we will focus instead of visiting five cities in Canada on Toronto, maybe Vancouver,” he illustrates, recalling that organizing a tour has cost a lot more since the pandemic.

But why Toronto? “We suspect that at the moment it is the short-term profit strategy that is favored by the industry, in part because it has been on its kneecap for two years,” notes Martin Lussier, professor at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), specialist for popular culture and music industry issues.

This strategy means that an artist only goes to the big markets, creating some sort of rarity around the concerts, thus ensuring the space is packed to maximize profit.

Martin Lussier, specialist in popular culture and music industry issues

This is the case of Harry Styles: the British singer’s 44-date North American tour stops in just five cities: Toronto, New York, Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles.


Harry Styles is performing at the Grammys in March 2021

In this strategic context, Martin Lussier addresses another possible explanation that could favor Toronto. In the Queen City, the company that operates most of the venues is Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promotion and organization conglomerate with subsidiaries in dozens of countries. And although Groupe CH has had a partnership with the industry giant since 2019, “we can assume that Live Nation will initially promote the concerts in their halls and not only share in the ticket sales there [grâce à sa filiale Ticketmaster]but also parking lots, food kiosks, sale of t-shirts, etc. »

In Toronto, this is particularly the case at History, the Coca-Cola Coliseum and the Scotiabank Arena, the equivalent of our Bell Center where all the artists who skipped Montreal are here.

No worries with evenko

In February 2021, promoter evenko, who manages most of Montreal’s venues, expressed public concern that uncertainty about the change in health measures in our province was hurting the “Montreal brand”.

Has the worst happened? Nick Farkas, Vice-President, Programming, Concerts and Events at evenko, assures that the traces of hygiene restrictions are no longer an obstacle for international artists. “We are just as busy in 2022 as in 2019, we see the traffic in our rooms,” he assures. Among the big names to have graced the Bell Center boards since last March are Bad Bunny, Dua Lipa and Greta Van Fleet. We’re expecting The Killers, Gorillaz, Stromae, and Luke Combs soon.


Dua Lipa concert at the Bell Center in July

As for the other artists bypassing the metropolis, Mr. Farkas doesn’t care too much about the reasons for their absence, although he admits the list might seem long at the moment. For some it would be data releases and for others less popularity in the Montreal market. Indeed, the “incredible number of artists” currently touring after a two-year absence makes it complex to plan a tour, confirms André Guérette.

However, the Vice President of Paquin Artists Agency would like to reassure: “Not bad, all artists are happy to come to Montreal. It’s a great city that everyone loves. There is nothing to fear for the future. »

Nick Farkas says the metropolis still ranks as a top city for touring. “There is nothing to fear, we are not losing our position, our reputation, not at all. Artists like coming to Montreal,” he emphasizes.

For 2023, evenko’s VP says he’s “very confident,” notably suggesting possible stops for Post Malone and Kendrick Lamar in the metropolis. During a new tour leg or for a festival? Be continued…

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