Members of the Arkells, Barenaked Ladies and other bands will join Walk off the Earth during a tribute concert for Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor Sunday that will be live streamed across Canada by CBC.
Taylor was the keyboardist and vocalist in the Burlington-based indie pop group. He died of “natural causes” in his sleep on Dec. 29, according to a statement from the band.
The free event in his honour will be held on Jan. 13 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Civic Square, the public space in front of city hall at 426 Brant Street. It will also be streamed nationwide for free on CBC Gem.
Details for the concert, which is presented by the City of Burlington and Sound of Music Festival, were firmed up Thursday after the event was first announced earlier this week.
Taylor to be honoured with key to the city
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said news of Taylor’s death was met with a huge outpouring from the community who knew him as a regular guy and “hockey dad.”
“People were just devastated by his loss,” she added. “He had a huge network of people that called him ‘Mike’ and he like that. He was one of us and when news of his death broke it felt like a member of our family had died.”
Flags outside city hall were lowered to half-mast the day after Taylor’s death, but Meed Ward said city staff knew they had to do more for the band that “put Burlington on the map” and kept coming back to play shows and support its arts and culture community.
We are launching a new @CityBurlington Key to the City program and the first recipient, posthumously, will be #BurlON‘s @WalkOffTheEarth Mike Taylor @WalkOffTaylor at Sunday’s memorial tribute concert at Civic Square https://t.co/vPgpTtpsh8
To recognize all that Taylor did for the city, staff are setting up a Key to the City program. The mayor said she plans to introduce the program during the tribute Sunday and present Taylor’s bandmates with a proclamation announcing him as its first recipient.
“This is what we do as Canadians, this is what we do in Burlington … if you’ve contributed to your community in some way we embrace you as family and we come together to celebrate and recognize.”
A bittersweet event
A poster for the event shared by the band on Twitter also promises acoustic performances by members of the Barenaked Ladies, Scott Helman, USS and Monster Truck.
Thank you all for your support during this time. We are looking forward to celebrating our good friend and brother this coming Sunday with all of you ❤️ pic.twitter.com/97elp4Cjgk
Meed Ward said she expects there to be a massive response to the concert, both in-person and online with people across the country tuning in.
“It will be bittersweet. It will be a moment to celebrate everything he did and to honour and recognize him and it will also be moments of sadness because he’s no longer with us,” she said.
“There will be happiness and sadness and I expect to have lots of tears of both.”