DURHAM’S MUSIC SCENE: Looking at Mosport’s musical memories

Boots and Hearts music festival held in 2014. Photo credit: TorontoGuy79 of Wikipedia.

Mosport is known best for revving engines, burning rubber and checkered flags – all part of big time auto racing.

But over the years, Mosport Park, now known as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), has been a venue that has created some incredible musical memories.

Located in Bowmanville, Ont., CTMP starting holding festivals in 1970. The 500-acre venue held events like Strawberry Fields, Vans Warped Tour, Boots and Hearts, Heatwave Music Festival and Edenfest.

For some Ontario residents, these festivals created some of their fondest memories to date.

Port Perry resident, Jennifer Tuttle, who attended Edenfest, July 12-14, 1996, describes the atmosphere as “electric.”

“Edenfest was the best outdoor concert I have ever been to, the festival was over three days and our group stayed the entire weekend. The atmosphere was electric,” said Tuttle.

Edenfest crowd at Mosport in 1996. Photo credit: Steve Russell of the Toronto Star - Toronto Public Library

Edenfest featured groups like The Tragically Hip, The Goo Goo Dolls, Bush and The Cure.

“I got to see my favourite band play, which is Bush. My girlfriend and I also got trapped in the mosh pit while the Tragically Hip was playing, it was so tight we could barely move,” Tuttle said.

On July 27th of the same year, Vans Warped Tour made a stop at the track. Warped Tour was known for its strong punk and alternative presence.

Bands like NOFX, Lagwagon, Pennywise, Reel Big Fish and The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones played.

Burlington resident, Blair Doucette, attended Warped Tour while just 13-years-old.

“I was really young and had to beg my stepmom to drive my friend Bubba and I all the way to Mosport from Oakville.”

For Doucette, it was a cool experience getting to see some of his favourite bands at a young age. He said some of the bands were still setting up when he and his friend arrived.

“We show up and they are still setting up the sound system and stage, it was was a massive place for an event that big. I remember walking for what seemed like forever from the entrance, we couldn’t see the stage just hear the sound checks.”

While both festivals were extremely different, one thing both Tuttle and Doucette can agree upon is they spent a lot of hard-earned cash on band merchandise.

Through the years, Mosport has been home to plenty of musical talents and fun times.

Heatwave was staged Aug. 23, 1980 and a crowd estimated at more than 60,000 turned out to see acts like the B-52s, Talking Heads, The Pretenders and Elvis Costello.

The last festival Mosport hosted was Boots and Hearts, a country-themed concert.

Boots and Hearts was at Mosport for three consecutive years starting in 2012 and ending in 2014. Stars like Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock, Alabama, Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith and Jason Aldean are among those who played at Mosport.

The festival has now moved to Oro-Medonte, Ont.

While both Doucette and Tuttle took a trip down memory lane, it is clear they made some amazing memories from the venue.

“I feel very privileged to have attended, they never did have another one,” said Tuttle.

Mosport, now known as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park today. Photo credit: TorontoGuy79 of Wikipedia.

It is unknown if CTMP will have another big music festival like its predecessor, Mosport. For now, the festivals live in the memories of the fans who attended.

Lately, CTMP has been sticking to its original roots of racing and cars. The most recent festival they had was BMW Fest, a festival for cars – not music.