Echo Beach

The inaugural concert at Echo Beach with Robyn.

The inaugural concert at Echo Beach with Robyn and Diamond Rings last June was one of the year’s best pop shows, thanks in part to the charming and secluded-feeling outdoor setting. A series of free gigs followed, and now Live Nation is hoping to make the 5,000-capacity beach a mainstay for the 2012 summer season.

The promoter will invest in production infrastructure, more washrooms and food/beverage stands with the goal of attracting young, laid-back and down-to-party types who don’t mind getting sand between their toes – though perhaps not in their designer footwear.

“A lot of people didn’t realize that Echo Beach is actually on sand,” says Live Nation’s Jacob Smid. “Next year I want to have a shoe check: check in your shoes, get a pair of flip-flops and at the end of the night go back and pick up your high heels or $800 New Balances.”

Expect a mix of electronic and hip-hop acts, multi-day events like metal fest Heavy T.O. and big rock-pop acts ill-suited to seated venues like the nearby Molson Amphitheatre. A gig like the Flaming Lips/Spoon’s 2009 Amphitheatre show would be ideal for the new venue, says Smid.

Another spot to watch in 2012 is tiny Queen West space Camera Bar, which recently hosted English folk artist Laura Marling and 100 fans over two intimate shows. “For what she was looking to achieve, it was perfect,” Smid says.

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