New music venue set to open near airport this fall

music venue planned for EY Centre
A new semi-permanent music venue is set to open at the EY Centre in November, Live Nation Canada announced Monday. (Supplied)

A new pop-up live music venue will be coming to the capital this fall, Live Nation Canada announced Monday. 

YOW Stage will be a 40,000-square-foot, semi-permanent venue located in the EY Centre at 4899 Uplands Dr., minutes from the Ottawa International Airport. 

With capacities of 1,800 and 2,500, the venue will provide general admission and reserved seating configurations, making it a flexible location for a variety of events. 

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“Ottawa remains one of the country’s most significant markets for live music and the YOW Stage at EY Centre will ensure the continued development of the city’s live entertainment scene,” said Ali Shafaee, regional vice-president at Live Nation Canada, a Live Nation Entertainment company, in a news release.  

“We look forward to hosting incredible domestic and international acts and producing memorable experiences for local music fans to enjoy,” he added.

As Ottawa looks to improve local nightlife, the YOW Stage fits into nicely into its plans to introduce more entertainment venues, said Erin Benjamin, president and CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association.

“It’s a really amazing opportunity for Ottawa to have a new flexible venue,” she said. “It’s really another essential step in the venue ladder, and it’s not only good for the live music industry and the economy, but it’s good for Ottawa as a world class city.”

She added, “It’s going to attract and incentivize a whole range of artists who perhaps aren’t currently performing in the city. It really says that Ottawa is a destination and we haven’t always had that luxury. Ottawa was a city to be avoided at times, but now that’s changing.”

Melanie Brulée, executive director of the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC), said in an emailed statement that she was pleased to hear about the announcement. 

“On our collective mission to make Ottawa a Music City, spaces that can attract touring artists, give our local acts potential opening slots, create more work opportunities for our techs, and invite more music lovers to the area are most welcome,” Brulée wrote. “This has been an important missing piece to Ottawa’s music ecosystem, we’re happy to hear about this.”

The new YOW Stage is set to begin operations in November 2023. 

The announcement comes weeks after Live Nation Canada expanded its senior leadership team in Ottawa, with the goal of growing the live music business in the local market. Award-winning music festival promoter Shafaee was one of the major additions as regional vice-president. 

Shafaee is best known for being the director of DNA Live and co-founder of the Escapade Music Festival. In 2019, the electronic dance music festival tied as Event of the Year at the Ottawa Tourism Awards and, that same year, Shafaee was named one of the Forty Under 40 winners by the Ottawa business community

Toronto-based Live Nation Canada recently opened a new office in the ByWard Market. In April, Shafaee told OBJ that his goal at Live Nation Canada is to help Ottawa’s concert and music festival scene reach its full potential. “I’ve always believed that there’s a ton of opportunity for growth here.”

Live Nation Entertainment is a live entertainment company composed of global market leaders Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Media and Sponsorship.

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