Hedley drops to smaller venue for Thunder Bay concert

Hedley is switching its Thunder Bay, Ont., concert this week to a smaller venue, the latest change to a rocky cross-Canada tour plagued by sexual misconduct allegations against lead singer Jacob Hoggard.

Canadian band will play with no supporting act

Hedley is switching its Thunder Bay, Ont., concert this week to a smaller venue, the latest change to a cross-Canada tour plagued by allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against lead singer Jacob Hoggard. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Hedley is switching its Thunder Bay, Ont., concert this week to a smaller venue, the latest change to a rocky cross-Canada tour plagued by sexual misconduct allegations against lead singer Jacob Hoggard.

Citing "unforeseen technical issues" with the original venue, the embattled pop-rock band announced via Twitter that Friday's show is being moved to the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.

The concert had been slated for Fort William Gardens, a multi-purpose facility that accommodates up to 4,690 people. Popular for hockey and other sporting events, trade shows and concerts, the gardens had hosted the NHL Alumni Benefit Tour on Family Day last month.

The community auditorium is a 1,500-seat performing arts centre that's home to the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, and hosts theatre productions, comedy shows and music concerts. 
 

Tickets for the original venue will be honoured at the new site, with "patrons seated in a designated area based on their original ticket price/location, on a first-come first-served basis," the band said.

Refunds are also available at point of purchase and there will be no supporting act, the statement said.

Troubled tour

The tour, which ends March 23 in Kelowna, B.C., has been under fire since allegations against Hoggard — suggesting he had inappropriate encounters with young fans — began surfacing online in February.

Members of Hedley pose on the red carpet during the 2015 Juno Awards. Amid the allegations surrounding Hoggard, the band rewithdrew from the awards later this month. (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

Amid the allegations, the band withdrew from the Juno Awards set for later this month in Vancouver, and dozens of Canadian radio and streaming music stations — including the CBC — removed Hedley from their playlists. The band's management team cut ties with it, and opening acts Neon Dreams, Shawn Hook and Liteyears ultimately withdrew from the tour.

CBC News published reports from two women — one detailing an allegation of rape and the other alleging non-consensual sexual activity involving Hoggard.

The singer denied the allegations and said that in both instances, he had engaged in consensual sex.

Fans have continued to support the band as it continues its cross-country Cageless tour. (Evan Mitsui/CBCNews)

As the band has continued touring, many diehard fans have attended and supported the group. Others have sought refunds. 

In an earlier statement on Twitter, Hoggard admitted to objectifying women, and said the way he has treated them has been "reckless and dismissive of their feelings." He acknowledged that women can be harmed and degraded by that behaviour and said "for this, I am truly sorry." 

The band said its members decided to take "an indefinite hiatus" after the conclusion of their current tour in order to "work on our personal relationships and who we are as individuals."