Are Avril Lavigne’s shows selling out in Toronto through legacy or loyalty?

What's really driving Lavigne's high ticket sales in Toronto? It's complicated.

Ticketmaster website for Avril Lavigne's coming Greatest Hits tour in Toronto and a phone playing her album Let Go in February 2024. (Mohit Sharma/Toronto Observer) 

Canadian singer Avril Lavigne has two upcoming Toronto shows in mid-August, and tickets have been selling out like hot poutine. But how much of this enthusiasm comes from her music itself and how much is from her being from around Toronto?

The 39-year-old singer who was born in Belleville, Ont., roughly two hours away from Toronto, began selling tickets in late January for her Greatest Hits tour which will roll into town this summer, with both venues at Scotiabank Arena and Budweiser Stage reaching the top 10 per cent of ticket sales for Lavigne’s shows on the ticket sales website Stubhub within days.

It is clear that even 20 years into her career, Lavigne is still a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

“That’s where home is. I can see my family and see someone who has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. It’s really exciting,” said Emma Cooper, 22, a Toronto-born student attending college in Georgia.

Cooper is a fan of Avril Lavigne and has tickets to her show at Budweiser Stage in August of this year, which she will be attending while she visits Toronto between semesters. 

Avril Lavigne will be joined on stage by the bands Simple Plan and Girlfriends on Aug. 16, 2024.

“It’s mostly nostalgia, she was a big part of my childhood dream and I’ve never seen her live before,” Cooper said.

“It’s gonna be like I’m a little kid again. I feel like a lot of people are looking back to the past and her music was quintessential to that early time when we all were small.”

Interestingly, when asked if Lavigne being Canadian is part of what made her show so appealing, she said “I always knew she was a Canadian but it didn’t really stick in my mind as a core thing. It was more about the music,” however when asked, Cooper said she does believe there is a certain pride Torontonians have in famous musical acts that originate from here.

It can’t be denied that Toronto has real love for musicians who originate from the hometown, an example being the rapper Drake who coined the term “the Six” and received recognition from former mayor John Tory back in 2016.

Drake was given the key to the city by then mayor John Tory on Feb. 12, 2016. This award was given previously to fellow Canadian singer Celine Dion.

Music historian Bob Wegner commented on the success of Canadian artists by saying it comes down to industry support, which wasn’t the case in previous decades when Canadian artists broke into the mainstream rarely and as underdogs.

“I’m not sure there’s much correlation between the way things were done then and the way they just happen now,” he said.

“It’s funny, I don’t know how many Americans for example would have known he was Canadian until he started getting in trouble.”

To this effect Wegner, 41, drew attention to the fact that it simply isn’t as big a deal in recent decades when a Canadian artist gets popular as it was back in the 1970s in the time of bands like Rush due to the development and normalization of Canada’s music industry and artists.

“Of course there’s a sense of pride when we’re right next to the States whenever any artist from Canada ends up selling as much as the American counterparts do,” he said.

“But these days it’s kind of more commonplace than anything because Avril, the Weeknd, Drake yeah they’re massive artists.”

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Posted: Feb 16 2024 11:18 pm
Filed under: Music