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Celebrating 100 years (of music) in Oshawa

On March 8, 1924, the City of Oshawa was incorporated. That means, of course, 2024 marks the centennial of the city and celebrations of this milestone will continue throughout the upcoming year. The name Oshawa (The Crossing Place) honours the area’s Indigenous heritage. The original name was Skae’s Corners, but as the area grew, particularly with the growth of automotive manufacturer General Motors Canada, Oshawa received city status. 

Oshawa is also home to Durham Region’s music scene with several venues located downtown (the Atria, the Biltmore, BOND ST Event Centre, the Regent Theatre, and the Tribute Communities Centre), so it does seem rather fitting with all of that city history, Indigenous hip hop crew Snotty Nose Rez Kids arrive at the Biltmore Theatre on their Hot Planet Tour Friday, January 19. Opening guests are LUM and Keysha Freshh.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids are Haisla rappers Young D and Yung Trybez from Kitamaat Village in B.C. They have been shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize several times, nominated for a JUNO in 2019 (the album Trapline featured the single “Boujee Natives”) and in 2018 for Best Hip Hop Album at the Indigenous Music Awards and Indigenous Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. They recently signed with Sony Music. Closing out the month at the Biltmore Theatre is Chicago-based punk outfit Spitalfield. The band is celebrating their own milestone, touring the 20th anniversary of their ‘Remember Right Now’ album. Opening for the rockers are two local acts who had a great 2023, Haddix and Nerima. Both played the city’s inaugural Convergence Music and Art Festival in September and also have recordings available. The Biltmore Theatre has also announced dates by the Trews and the Sheepdogs.

The Regent Theatre, also located in the city’s music district, has some shows of note to kick off 2024. Blackrose Entertainment presents a trio of tribute acts: Scarecrow takes on the mid-western Americana of John Cougar Mellencamp, the Led Zeppelin Experience featuring Joan Smith covering the most classic of classic rockers, and a fab night of funk and soul when Everyday People will take everyone higher with the music of Sly and the Family Stone. With the Ontario Philharmonic calling the Regent Theatre home, it's not just pop, rock, and hip-hop on the stage.

Coming to The Tribute Communities Centre in 2024 are City and Colour with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Queens of the Stone Age, and Cole Swindell with support from Meghan Patrick, making a rare near-hometown appearance. Patrick, now residing in Nashville, TN, is from Bowmanville. 

While much of the city’s music scene is concentrated around those original four corners of Skae’s Corners, there are many smaller stages available for musicians throughout the city; the Wee Pub, Fionn McCools, the Bollocks Pub, Hills Pub, Nookie’s, Simcoe Blues and Jazz, and others. 

On any given night in Oshawa, there are a variety of live music events to choose from. So, if you are a music lover, you'll probably want to stay over for a day or two - particularly as the city celebrates its 100th birthday!

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