Toronto Concert To Fight SARS Fears

Canadian acts Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, the Tragically Hip, Sum 41, Our Lady Peace, Glenn Lewis, and Remy Shand are confirmed for a June 21 concert to be held at Toronto's Skyd

Canadian acts Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, the Tragically Hip, Sum 41, Our Lady Peace, Glenn Lewis, and Remy Shand are confirmed for a June 21 concert to be held at Toronto's Skydome and the adjacent Air Canada Centre. The concert, announced today by Ontario cabinet ministers Jim Flaherty and Brian Coburn, is being staged as a means to combat the city's economic and tourism problems in the wake of an outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

Tickets for the event will go on sale tomorrow (May 29) via Ticketmaster Canada. "We want summer to start with a real bang, something that's going to bring a lot of livelihood, rockin' and poppin' and all that," Coburn said today.

A video link setup between both venues, which have a combined capacity of 70,000 will enable everyone to see the performances. An unnamed major television network has also become involved with the event and extensive media coverage in North America is expected.

Toronto's tourism industry has lost approximately $1 billion (U.S. $763 million) due to SARS-related cancellations. The disease has caused 27 deaths in the Toronto area. After lifting a travel advisory earlier this month, the World Health Organization recently returned Toronto to a list of "areas with recent local transmission of SARS" but no new travel advisory has been issued.

In related news, organizers are still trying to find necessary funding in order to lure the Rolling Stones for a show in Toronto in late July. Approximately two-thirds of the needed funding, estimated at between $10-11 million, has been provided from the private sector and various levels of government. A proposed show would take place July 29, with the Downsview Air Force base as a potential venue.