ROCK THE PARK VI: The Kingston band headlines a July 23 show

Tragically Hip fits format change
Tue, February 3, 2009

A change in format has made it possible for the Hip to rock the park.

Through its first five editions as a weekend classic rock fest, the Harris Park outdoor summer party known as Rock the Park wasn’t the right fit for the Tragically Hip.

“We’ve been after them for two years,” says London concert promoter Brad Jones. Unlikely to be part of classic rock mix, the Tragically Hip is at home with Rock the Park’s new format. Each of three nights appeals to a different music market.

The Hip signed on last week as headliners on a July 23 rock night, bringing the iconic Kingston band back to the London region market for the first time since February 2007.

That was when Canada’s No. 1 rock band or Das Hip — both names by which they’re known — played the JLC.

“The first thing you notice about the Hip is that remarkable trait all great bands have — the band’s music is not carried by one person’s individual talent. Like the Stones, Led Zep, the Beatles and the Who, it is the collective that gives the band its sound and feel,” producer Bob Rock said of the sessions that led the Hip’s 2006 album World Container. The band has worked on another album at its Bathouse Studio near Kingston.

The Kingston-born quintet is fronted by Gord Downie and rounded out by guitarists Paul Langlois and Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair and drummer Johnny Fay has been playing London for decades since forming in the 1980s.

Hip classics include Bobcaygeon, At The 100th Meridian and Ahead by a Century.

Like the first five editions of Rock the Park, this summer’s concert series is a fundraiser for Bethanys Hope Foundation.

It helps pay for London- and UWO-based research into metachromatic leukodystrophy, (MLD) a devastating progressive neurodegenerative disease.

The London foundation is named for Bethany Catherine McIntyre, who died in 2000, at the age of seven after a five-year struggle with MLD. The first five editions of Rock the Park raised more than $750,000 for the London-based Bethany’s Hope Foundation.

Read the rest of the story in the London Free Press.