Bringing the Bands Back to Thunder Bay
Story by Amy Sellors, Photos by Jack Barten
Music promoter Frank Loffredo is well known for bringing bands to Thunder Bay. For decades, he has delivered the concerts that have got us up on our feet—and then, COVID came and messed it all up. Now, as we start opening the doors on concert venues again, Loffredo is poised to deliver “the right artist in the right venue with the right people.” In smaller venues there’s more of a focus on the people, and it’s the people who deliver a memorable night out.
On June 15, Loffredo presented Elliott BROOD on The Foundry stage—his first concert since the pandemic. Elliott BROOD is a band he loves and has a relationship with. When he heard they were on the road, he reached out and very quickly, Thunder Bay was added as one of their dates. The audience was left blown away. “I want to thank Dane at The Foundry,” says Loffredo. “A concert is not just about the band; it’s also the venue and the staff. There’s no better feeling than the venue, the staff, and the customers all digging the event.”
This concert is the start of something, but Loffredo is holding his cards close to his chest with regards to what comes next. “People think it’s back to normal, but it’s not. There’s not a lot of bus tours. Much of the infrastructure for bus tours folded during the pandemic. You will see localized tours, but not national tours, not for a while,” he says. “The scene needs to be rebuilt. They said it would be like the roaring 20s like after the last pandemic, but right now it’s not even purring.” There are different COVID protocols between provinces, and at the Canada/U.S. border. With all of this in mind, Loffredo is adopting a “watch and wait” approach, where he’s cautiously optimistic.
Loffredo’s concerts are a passion project that connect his love of music, his love of people, and his love of the energy in the room. “If people want live music back, you need to go see it! Just go! Some of the coolest clubs, people just walk right past. Some of the best experiences you can have in life are at street level,” he says. “You get something different in a larger concert hall. It’s more personal, more intimate in smaller venues. There’s more connection between the band and the music.”
Thunder Bay’s proximity to the United States and position in the centre of Canada has made it a hot spot for new and established bands to play. Loffredo’s passion for live music hasn’t wavered. He wants to rebuild the live concert scene. “I want to explore every venue that wants to work with me,” he says. “And I want to do things on my own terms.” He’s talking to the venues and he’s talking to the artists. He wants to put big names in intimate settings, and there are more concerts coming up.
Even if the concerts haven’t been announced yet, know that there is definitely something brewing.
Follow @crockstbay on Facebook and Instagram to see what Frank Loffredo concerts are coming next.