NXNE Venue Review: Yonge-Dundas Square


Yonge & Dundas

It’s June, It’s NXNE time. Let’s get right to it. One of the greatest things about NXNE is the free shows they have at Yonge-Dundas shows. Previous years, the festival has been able to bring in an impressive list of bands including

The National
Flaming Lips
Iggy Pop
De La Soul
The guy from Fast & Furious movies
Billy Talent
Blinker the Star

and so on.

This year it’s no different, the center of Toronto is host to an eclectic group of artists that include St. Vincent, Danny Brown, Spoon and Sleigh Bells. How is it, as a concert venue though?

History & Overview

Conceived in 1997, Yonge Dundas square is often seen as a primary piece of evidence for the argument that Toronto just wants to be New York. It’s right in the heart of the city and is surrounded by so much excessive screens and lighting that you can still see the glare from the square a kilometer away. It’s been home to many random things. For me, it’s just an area to avoid on the weekends.



No really, the stage isn’t that high, so sight lines do not extend more then 100 feet from stage. There is a beer garden that should you be lucky enough to get in, provides decent sight lines as it is less packed then the public crowd space. For those wishing a far away experience, you can always camp out at Jack Astors for a view from way above. However, if you choose to take this route, you might as well sit at home and watch Coachella streams.


There is a beer garden, for those who wish to enjoy a brew during the show. The beer is expensive so you might be better off going the student way and filling an empty gatorade bottle with something. You can also go the adult way and bring a flask.


While 99% of music fans would prefer to see bands like The National or St. Vincent at nicer venues, there is no doubt that having bands play at Yonge-Dundas square serves a vital role for NXNE in terms of expanding it’s presence and also potentially introduce people to new types of music. People who go to YDS during NXNE know exactly what they are in for, and should not really complain. After all, NXNE is about discovering music, and so all the music nerds should be searching little dingy bars looking for the next National or St. Vincent anyway.

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Posted on by Ricky in North By Northeast, Venue

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

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