Late-breaking concert on the CBC? Network in talks for Tragically Hip 'final show' broadcast

Frustrated Tragically Hip fans — some who couldn't snag presale tickets today or yesterday — are calling on the CBC to broadcast the band's final concert, and the CBC says it is interested in doing just that.

CBC interested in airing Kingston concert, says it is having conversations with band

Members of the Tragically Hip pose for photographers on the red carpet as they arrive at the Juno awards in Winnipeg in April 2005. (Marianne Helm/Canadian Press)

Frustrated Tragically Hip fans — some who couldn't snag presale tickets today or yesterday — are calling on the CBC to broadcast the band's final concert, and the CBC says it is interested in doing just that.

A series of petitions and open letters to CBC management have been posted online, urging the public broadcaster to record the final show of the band's upcoming tour, which is scheduled to end in the Hip's hometown of Kingston. Fans across the country are pushing for that Aug. 20 show at the Rogers K-Rock Centre to be aired on CBC.

Emma Bédard, a spokeswoman for the CBC, responded to the requests on Tuesday, saying "we are interested in airing the Tragically Hip's final show and are having conversations with the band to see if we can make it happen."

The band announced dates for its summer Man Machine Poem tour last week, a day after announcing that frontman Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Four dates were added on Monday due to overwhelming demand.

Solution to ticket woes?

Some Hip fans have had trouble getting tickets and are worried they won't be able to get any. Presale tickets sold out quickly on Monday. The sale started at 10 a.m. and within minutes tickets were for sale on resale sites like StubHub.

Hip fan Kelly McAlpine said that's one of the reasons she started a petition requesting CBC to broadcast the Kingston show. The petition, which is addressed to CBC president Hubert Lacroix, had gotten nearly 600 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.

"CBC can not only make this concert accessible to all fans unable to be there in person, but can honour Gord and fellow band mates by supporting their fundraising campaign to Sunnybrook," she told CBC News.

Some proceeds from the tickets sold will be going to the Sunnybrook Foundation, which supports brain cancer research.

The street in front of the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ont., where the band will pay its final concert in August, is called Tragically Hip Way. (Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

McAlpine was trying to get tickets to the Kingston concert, but couldn't and refuses to pay the inflated prices. She said the situation is not right, but a broadcast of the concert would be a "game-changer."

A petition similar to McAlpine's, which calls on CTV and Global to broadcast the show in addition to CBC, has garnered more than 400 signatures.

The idea has also been floating around on Facebook. Facebook user Grant Bishop wrote an open letter to CBC Music on Tuesday morning, outlining the band's "defining influence on our country" and asking for a live broadcast of the Kingston concert.

"Tickets for this final show went in seconds. There are many, many Canadians who want to share this moment with our favourite band in their hometown," he said. "This is a unique moment for our country that you could allow us to share together."

Eggplant Entertainment, which manages the Tragically Hip, did not respond to a request for comment.

Tickets for the concert tour go on sale to the general public on Friday at 10 a.m.


Haydn Watters is a roving reporter in Ontario, mostly serving the province's local CBC Radio shows. He has worked for the CBC in Halifax, Yellowknife, Ottawa and Toronto, with stints at the politics bureau and entertainment unit. He ran an experimental one-person pop-up bureau for the CBC in Barrie, Ont. You can get in touch at haydn.watters@cbc.ca.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?