For music-loving Torontonians, the news is great: the Black Creek Summer Music Festival will celebrate its inaugural season from June to September 2011 at York University’s outdoor stadium, the Rexall Centre. The headliners include Lionel Ritchie, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, James Taylor, Placido Domingo, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and Gretchen Wilson and the genres will span pop, jazz, country, classical, gospel, and Broadway.
The Rexall Centre, built for the Canada Masters tournament and Tennis Canada, seats up to 14,000 attendees so the venue will provide a similar intimacy experienced at Ontario Place’s Molson Amphitheatre. Two festival entertainers worth spotlighting are: 1) the 84-year-old wunderkind, Tony Bennett, who recently sang the jazzy “Stepping Out With My Baby” in a duet with American Idol top-three finalist Haley Reinhart on the final Idol show. Bennett’s voice has not aged a bit and is miraculously as crystal clear as it has ever been. 2) Don’t write Gretchen Wilson off as another country “Redneck Woman.” Wilson’s pipes are some of the most potent in the business and if you need evidence, check out her rendition of Heart’s “Barracuda” with Alice in Chains.