By: Helena Shlapak
The Earl of Whitchurch Pub in Stouffville is throwing the ultimate party by attempting to break the Guiness World record for longest concert.
Going to a pub on St. Patrick’s Day may seem cliche but tonight is just the kick-off for the Stouffville pub, north of Toronto, as the drinks and music are scheduled to flow for 16 days. At the helm of this world record attempt is Epidemic Music Group, an organization that, for the last seven years, has worked to help nourish the local music scene in York Region by providing artist development, concert production, album production, full-scale event planning and promotion.
In case patrons want to feel better about their possible drunken antics and inevitable hangovers, all the proceeds from the massive concert will be divided up amongst 16 different charities including Sickkids Foundation, North Toronto Cat Rescue and others so if anyone is looking to give a little green for St. Paddy’s, tonight’s the night. There is no set goal but Epidemic Music Group is suggesting a five-dollar donation at the door. They will also be holding raffles.
Like all world record attempts the reason for this one is simply, why not?
“It just seemed like the natural next step to take this on and also involve bunch of charities to draw awareness and generate a bunch of money for 16 charities in our area,” says Heather Cook Scala, Community Partnership Coordinator for Epidemic.
The organization had worked with The Earl for many years and both the pub and group say they share the same goals when it comes to getting active and helping out their community. Scala says that choosing to donate to charity seemed a natural progression, especially since all members of the committee spends lots of personal time investing in and supporting many organizations. The group tried to select charities that they could support across the spectrum.
“This event is definitely bigger than us. Every single cause you can think of we wanted to make sure they were represented and also focus in on helping young people have access to resources,” she says.
Donations are the life-blood of charities, especially for North Toronto Cat Rescue which receives no government funding and must currently find a new home for its shelter.
“We’re in an area where gross new development will be taking place and we have to leave our shelter,” says Donna Cox, founder of the no-kill shelter. “We’re looking for a place to go in the next two months. The people involved in this concert recognize what we’ve done for the community and they’re wanting to support us and help us move on.”
North Toronto Cat Rescue has been running for 28 years and has saved over 3,000 cats. In order to keep going, Cox says they need whatever funding they can get and the phone call from Epidemic was a blessing. To help spur an increase in donations, the shelter has been advertising the concert on their Facebook and website and Cox will even be featured on Rogers TV and volunteer at the venue.
“I certainly think it’s going to bring awareness to us. Hopefully there is a surge in adoptions but there will also be people realizing that we’re the ones that take in all the strays, so it works both ways,” says Cox. “Fingers and toes crossed that this is nothing but a total success. I’m looking forward to participating as a person at this event as well.”
Attempting a world record for charity may seem like quite a challenge but Scala says that organizing the concert wasn’t difficult and the whole event was planned in just six weeks. She says that 75 per cent of the bands were booked in just one day after the first call went out on January 31.
“A simple call out of Facebook was enough to get almost the entire roster of bands that we needed,” she says. “They came together through our collective connections, word of mouth and people that we know and as a result a lot of our friends are playing this show, so it’s really amazing for everyone involved.”
The timing of the event is deliberate.
“St. Patrick’s Day has always been a big day for the Earl,” says Scala. “Mike Burns, who is our band coordinator, his band plays every year on St. Patrick’s Day and we thought, what a great way to kick off this event with the actual guy who’s booking the bands playing in his band.” Scala also says that the holiday is a great day of celebration and would be a better day for every one to celebrate revelry and good times.
In order to get the record, the concert must go on for at least 16 days and will feature 400 different bands along with a set of strict guidelines. A single song can’t be less than two minutes long and can’t be repeated for another four hours after it has been played. There can only be five minutes between bands and 30 seconds between songs.
The previous winner of the record was Ri Ra The Irish Pub in Las Vegas in 2014. The concert lasted for 15 days and 12 hours.