Looking Back on 2019 at Budweiser Gardens!
As another year ends, we reflect on the fantastic year we’ve had at Budweiser Gardens from many sold-out shows to hosting the most significant event the building has ever had! We are so proud of all the accomplishments we’ve had over the past year and thank you to everyone who made 2019 so special.
In case you need a little refresher on all that happened in 2019, let’s break it down for you with the top events we hosted this year…
The 2019 JUNO Awards
The much anticipated 2019 JUNO Week & JUNO Awards took over London in March with musical artists, industry executives and fans from all over Canada visiting and taking part in the many events held in the city March 11-17. Budweiser Gardens had the privilege of hosting Canada’s biggest night in music, the 48th Annual JUNO Awards, which was broadcast live on CBC and online at cbc.ca.
Sarah McLachlan hosted the award show, which opened with locals Loud Luxury performing their hit ‘Body’ along with the Western University cheerleading squad and marching band – a performance that Londoners will remember for years to come! The night continued to wow with performances from Bulow, Arkells, The Reklaws, Bahamas, Tyler Shaw, to name just a few. There were many special moments throughout the night, including when Sting made an appearance to present his good friend David Foster with the Humanitarian Award for his support of numerous charities and for his foundation that supports families of organ transplant recipients. Another genuinely local moment was when Sarah McLachlan took the stage with a student from the London Girls Rock camp to talk about Musicounts, the JUNOS charity that helps put instruments in the hands of kids who need them the most. London Girls Rock Camp was lucky enough to be the recipient of $25,000 worth of musical instruments from Musicounts. The night ended with Corey Hart being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and performing ‘Never Surrender’ and everyone’s favourite ‘Sunglasses a Night.’ What a night it was!
JUNO Side Stage
For the first time, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) partnered with Live Nation Canada and the Spectra team at Budweiser Gardens to put on a 3-day outdoor concert series called the JUNO Side Stage. The event took place in a heated tent in the parking lot outside of Budweiser Gardens from March 15-17. Each night offered up a different genre of music and showcased many talented Canadian artists. The first night kicked things off with country music from The Washboard Union, Jess Moskaluke and The Reklaws. Saturday night offered hip hop music with Anders, 88Glam and KILLY. Sunday saw awards show viewing party followed by an after-party with local artists Ryan Shepherd and Loud Luxury.
Broadway in London Series 2018-2019
Broadway in London had a spectacular series for the 2018-2019 season with a total of three shows, with two more as optional add-ons. The series included the original rock musical RENT, the high-heeled hit KINKY BOOTS and the mind-blowing spectacular THE ILLUSIONISTS-LIVE FROM BROADWAY™. The special add-on options included the graceful and thrilling all-new tour CIRQUE MUSICA HOLIDAY presents Wonderland, the most beloved film franchise in history featuring a live symphony orchestra HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS™ in CONCERT, offering a wide variety of entertainment for subscribers and fans alike.
Twenty One Pilots
Twenty One Pilots made their debut at Budweiser Gardens on May 20th and brought one of the largest fan bases we’ve seen in 16 years! Excited fans camped outside the venue several days before the show in anticipation of getting to the front of the floor once doors opened. Twenty-One Pilots ignited a solid opening with vocalist Tyler Joseph first holding a torch, and then lighting a car on fire. Throughout the evening, hits such as Stressed Out, Heathens, and Chlorine were played, along with more from their Bandito album. The concert’s conclusion, like the start of the show, was a strong one that fans will never forget as yellow confetti danced in the air. The confetti was just one piece of an overall visual stunning show, with the lights colour-coordinating to the music. Yellow lights would flash for songs from Bandito, red would shine for songs from Blurryface, and green and purple would illuminate the room as a nod to the Suicide Squad film as they played Heathens.
On Monday, March 5th, Southern Rock icons, Lynyrd Skynyrd, brought their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour to Budweiser Gardens as part of the band’s blockbuster two-year farewell tour that will see them travel across the globe.
Canadian legend and former frontman for The Guess Who, Randy Bachman, opened the show and had the crowd of over 5,000 singing along to classic hits such as These Eyes, American Woman and No Sugar Tonight before ending his twelve-song set with the mega-hit Takin’ Care of Business.
With the crowd warmed up, it was time for Lynyrd Skynyrd to take the stage one last time in London. The band kicked off the show with favourites Workin’ for MCA followed by Skynyrd Nation, What’s Your Name and That Smell, all of which gave the crowd a taste of what the band has accomplished throughout their illustrious career. The middle of the set included hits Saturday Night Special and Tuesday’s Gone before the band launched into mega-hits Simple Man, Gimme Three Steps and Sweet Home Alabama. The final song of the night was none other than Free Bird. The video was used throughout the song to allow the late Ronnie Van Zant to accompany his younger brother Johnny leaving fans with goosebumps from the images and the experience of the show.
Very few artists have risen to fame quite as fast as country superstar Luke Combs. On Thursday, March 28th, fans at Budweiser Gardens experienced why the 29-year-old from Ashville, North Carolina is one of country music’s brightest stars. Headlining his first-ever arena tour, Luke Comb’s ‘Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour’ had the sold-out crowd on their feet dancing and singing along from the first notes of Honky Tonk Highway to the last chord of the encore; She Got the Best of Me. In-between, Combs also played his #1 hits; When It Rains It Pours, Beautiful Crazy, One Number Away and Hurricane. Opening for Luke was up and comers Jameson Rodgers and rising stars LANCO. This show was Jameson Rodgers’s first time to the venue, and he didn’t disappoint! Playing his hit singles; I Don’t Know About You, Some Girls and I Love This Town, he got the night started on the right foot! LANCO, who played Trackside Music Festival in 2018, made their return to London with new music, and the fans loved every minute of their set.
On Monday, July 22nd, Budweiser Gardens played host to two rock icons, Tesla and Def Leppard, and to say that the atmosphere downtown was in a state of “Euphoria” would be an understatement. Tesla opened the arena with the same energy that had been building throughout the audience. They blazed through their setlist of some of their greatest hits over the years. Their set seemed to fly by as they continued to power through with smooth transitions from song to song. Their set ended with thunderous applause and a standing ovation, with clear die-hard fans screaming at the top of their lungs. The use of video both above and behind them, along with a stellar lighting rig and show design, kept the visual interest while the talent on stage spoke for itself.
The party continued when the countdown on the screens that lowered during the set change was counting down the mere seconds to the top of Def Leppard’s set. The crowd erupted with 15 seconds left on the count, with everyone getting to their feet. The proud audience even stayed on their feet for the remainder of their 16-song setlist from their complete discography. As the first note played, and the screens lifted to reveal lead singer Joe Elliott highlighted by top light, you knew the audience was about to be taken down a journey. Fans were re-introduced to the band through the first number of the set, ‘Rocket’ and taken through accompanying video footage of NASA and their massive accomplishments. Of course, their closing number (before the encore, of course), was the song that without-a-doubt, everyone knows. ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ was the loudest fan-driven song I’ve heard in a concert. The sound was deafening. Pure joy and nostalgia were alive and well!
‘An Evening With Michael Bublé’ is not just a concert. Throughout the event, you feel like Bublé is the M.C. of your wedding, entertaining the guests, but they're really for you alone. He carries the crowd, vocals and band along like a Maître D as he leans into the energy of his fans and his fellow musicians.
Bublé is an artist who gives credit to both his fans, the musicians he works with, not only verbally, which he does many times, but by celebrating them during the show. He frequently goes out of his way to interact with fans, signing pictures, shaking hands and even taking selfie videos on phones concert-goers hand up to the stage. He chooses Maddi from Sarnia out of the crowd, pulls her up to the stage, hugs her, and they sing a rousing duet of ‘Fever.’ Ascending into the Orchestra, Bublé cajoles a violinist from London to sing for him, then hands the microphone to trumpeter Jumaane Smith. Bublé is an artist who gives credit to both his fans, the musicians he works with, not only verbally, which he does many times, but by celebrating them during the show. He frequently goes out of his way to interact with fans, signing pictures, shaking hands and even taking selfie videos on phones concert-goers hand up to the stage.
Rock the Rink
On October 30th, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir returned to their hometown for their final skate ahead of retirement on their Rock the Rink Tour. It was a special evening as Tessa & Scott had announced just a month earlier that they were going to step away from skating and enter retirement. A crowd of 5,224 watched in awe as the pair brought their flawless routine to the ice. Fellow skaters Patrick Chan, Kaetlyn Osmond, Elvis Stojko, Carolina Kostner, Jeremy Abbott and more also impressed. Toronto based alt-rock band Birds of Bellwoods provided some live music to pump up the crowd for the show. The coast-to-coast tour was something special, but the hometown show for Tessa & Scott was something genuinely memorable filled with smiles, tears and plenty of standing ovations.
In early November, the Arkells brought their Rally Cry Fall Tour to Budweiser Gardens. Coming off of a massive summer show in Toronto, the highly anticipated Rally Cry Tour continued with a short run of tour dates for the fall, including a stop at Budweiser Gardens on November 7th. A crowd of 4,518 danced and sang along as the Arkells opened with their hit ‘hand me downs’ and quickly dived into their impressive catalogue, playing hits like ‘knocking at the door,’ ‘Michigan left,’ ‘John Lennon,’’11:11’, ‘Leather Jacket’ to name a few. During their encore, the band brought out openers COIN to perform a Robyn cover of ‘Dancing on my Own’ and ended with their hit ‘My Heart’s Always Yours.’ Our heart is always theirs, and we hope they return to London again soon!
Cheers to a new decade, and we look forward to another exciting year! For a list of our upcoming events CLICK HERE