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The DIY Tradition Continues in Oshawa's Music Scene This July

Oshawa’s DIY music heritage is at the forefront of summer in the city. While the city’s public sector continues to build on its recent nomination for Music City of the Year at the Canadian Music Week Awards, the private sector continues to push for innovation and inspiration. 

In the early 2000s, a venue called The Dungeon on Bond Street provided opportunities for non-commercially viable underage musicians and emerging touring acts. The building has been renovated, and a new club, The TwoTwoTwo, has opened in the former Dungeon location. The TwoTwoTwo has launched an initiative to build on the venue’s heritage and once again open its stage to up-and-coming young bands. 

There is a deep well of musical talent in the city, and this new outlet has already started to fill up with eager young folks ready to step into the spotlight. 

Koster live at The TwoTwoTwo Photo Credit : @cosmiccullen
Koster live at The TwoTwoTwo Photo Credit : @cosmiccullen

The TwoTwoTwo’s weekly Band Social night occurs on Tuesday evenings, with doors opening at 6 p.m. This is a great opportunity for local residents and visitors to the city to get a free, first-hand look at possible future stars. Everyone was a beginner at one time, and someone had to take a chance on them.

Kops Records on King Street has also launched its matinee series of all-ages showcases, School’s Out! On July 3, OMA award winner Nerima will perform at the inaugural event, and on July 10, a band beginning to shine, The Incoming Sun, will play. These showcases are free to the public.

Across the road from Kops, on July 10, at the Biltmore Theatre you can catch Hawksley Workman, and on July 11, Canadian rock icons 54-40 will return to the Biltmore. The Biltmore will be dark over the rest of July as they renovate.

The Regent Theatre will be giving over its stage to a string of dates for the musical parody Stranger Sings, a comedy based on the Netflix hit Stranger Things. 

The off-Broadway cast of "Stranger Sings" coming to the Regent Theatre in July!
The off-Broadway cast of "Stranger Sings" coming to the Regent Theatre in July!

In The Local Lounge at the Bond|St Event Centre, which houses the aforementioned TwoTwoTwo, the Acoustic Fridays Sessions continue through the month with Alex Krolik on July 5, Cheryl Ireland on July 12, Ron Leary on July 19, and Micaela Rae on July 26. On July 19 at the TwoTwoTwo, Theo, frontman for Canadian punks and JUNO nominees Gob, will perform a solo set. 

Of course, the City of Oshawa has its own line-up of free events for residents and visitors, and music is always an integral part of the proceedings. Free concerts presented by the City include South American Indigenous and world music performers Inka’s Band at Ed Broadbent Park on the corner of Simcoe Street and Harbour Road, and the Oshawa Civic Band will perform People Power at the McLaughlin Bandshell in Memorial Park on the evening of July 17. 

Join the Oshawa Civic Band for a free concert in Memorial Park on July 17.
Join the Oshawa Civic Band for a free concert in Memorial Park on July 17.

The Oshawa Civic Band has quite the history in the City; it is older than the City itself. The Oshawa Civic Band came into being in 1920 with the merging of two other bands: the Regimental Band of the 34th Ontario Regiment, a traditional Military Brass band, having been raised in 1866 at the time of The Regiment, and from the Town Band formed in 1870 later known as the Oshawa Citizens Band. The resultant band became the Oshawa Regimental and Civic Band and, in 1968, the Oshawa Civic Band. 

Even as the City celebrates its recent acknowledgement as a Music City and its incorporation one hundred years ago, the music well, which feeds the scene, stretches back almost two hundred years, so yes, there is always something to see and hear somewhere in Oshawa.

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