The Origins of Vancestock: The Power of Chance Encounters

The Origins of Vancestock: The Power of Chance Encounters

Skip the origins and read more about Vancestock X here.


Think back to the mid-1980s – if you’re old enough to remember them. Michael Jackson moonwalked his way into superstardom, the Breakfast Club taught kids everywhere that serving detention could give you a real education, and a fresh-faced articling student named Vance Cooper was eagerly heading to his desk when he was stopped by one of the office secretaries.

“My brother-in-law’s band is playing some bar on Queen Street and we need to put bodies in the seats,” she explained. “Would you like to come out?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing who her brother-in-law or the band was but looking forward to a night out nonetheless. The secretary was right – they really did need to put bodies in the seats as the room was all-but empty. One older couple danced along to country-inspired rock music and we sat back and enjoyed the show. I had no way of knowing that the band, Blue Rodeo, featuring the secretary’s brother-in-law, Jim Cuddy, would go on to become one of Canada’s most successful bands while I would forever be able to tell people “I saw them before they became famous!”

Fast forward 30 years and my love for live music had only grown. While watching a show put on by a band that included a friend’s son, Great Bloomers, I began to think to myself: “Wouldn’t it be great to find some young bands and introduce them to a new audience? Wouldn’t it be great to help the “next” Blue Rodeo get some exposure?” I thought I might use this idea to put on a big party for my friends, family, clients and anyone else who loves the feeling of hearing a band play live music.

While it would be a fun time, I thought we might use this opportunity to give back to the community by supporting a charity. By covering all the expenses myself, anyone who came to this event could donate to a charity knowing 100% of the proceeds would go directly to that charity.

But who to support? I have a special affinity for summer camps, and when I learned of the great work of Trails Youth Initiative, it was a very easy decision.


The very first Vancestock at the Horseshoe Tavern in 2012 was a night I’ll always remember. My daughter and I had seen a band called “The Stone Sparrows,” at the Toronto Jazz Festival that summer and we were blown away by their music and performance. Following a chance meeting with the band members, as they mingled in the crowd, I extended an invitation for them to perform as Vancestock’s opening act. They brought all the magic of their Jazz Fest performance – and then some – to Vancestock and the audience knew right away they were in for a special night.


Fast forward four years to the summer of 2016. While looking for my third act for Vancestock V, I thought back to the power and beauty of The Stone Sparrows’ performance. Unfortunately, the band had since parted ways but singer Meghan Patrick’s career kept ascending. She had moved to Nashville to further hone her craft and I knew she was going places – including releasing a critically acclaimed album called Grace & Grit earlier. I still had her mother’s email and decided to reach out to her to see if she might do the show. Within 24 hours, that email was passed to Meghan’s agent, we spoke, and we had our featured performer for Vancestock V. Shortly after appearing at Vancestock, Meghan went on to win two Canadian Country Music (CCMA) awards.Meghan Patrick was the closest I have come to recreating the “Blue Rodeo scenario” I dreamed about. Although I certainly cannot take any credit for her success, I’m so happy Vancestock is a part of her story.


The 10th instalment of Vancestock promises to be the best ever. We have moved to the Trails facility to give all those in attendance a taste of and appreciation for what Trails does for Toronto’s at-risk intercity youth.

Vancestock X takes place on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Doors open at 1 pm and the show will run from 2 pm until 5 pm, with a post-concert campfire, singsong and s’mores.

Vancestock X, a day of music and charity fundraising, will take place outdoors in a COVID-friendly, physically distant camp setting in compliance with applicable health and safety requirements.

Ready To RSVP? Please register today.

Not Sure You Can Join Us? Please consider making an online donation, nonetheless. Please donate today.

The Show: Artists

We’re very pleased to announce our musical acts for Vancestock X.

Our headliner is Dione Taylor. A Toronto-based artist who hails from Saskatchewan, Dione was nominated for a Juno in the blues category for her record Spirits in the Water in 2021.

In addition, we have Ian Janes – a talented artist, songwriter and producer from Nova Scotia. He writes and performs pop songs that are deeply influenced by soul, R&B and jazz. One of Ian’s songs “Can’t Remember Never Loving You” was prominently featured in the TV show “Nashville” as performed by the show’s two stars.

Our opening act, back for their ninth consecutive Vancestock, are a group of wonderfully talented musicians – Sisters & Brothers (Logan Cooper and Jessica Charendoff and their siblings).

Important Details About Vancestock X

Date: Saturday, September 18, 2021

Time: Doors will open at 1 pm

Showtime: 2 – 5 pm [with a post-concert campfire, singsong and s’mores to follow the show]

Location: Trails Youth Initiatives

Address: 15599 Warden Avenue, Stouffville, ON L4A 2M9

Special Note: BYOC and B (Bring Your Own Chair and Beverages)

Registration / Donation Link:

About Trails Youth Initiatives

Trails Youth Initiatives is an organization that supports some of Toronto’s most vulnerable youth.

To learn more about Trails, visit their website or check out this promotional video. It not only provides insight into the work of Trails, but also provides a wonderful visual tour of the Trails Lakeside property.

Why Trails Needs Your Help Now More Than Ever

Trails Youth Initiatives challenges, equips and empowers vulnerable youth to be contributing members of the community.

The youth who benefit from Trails are, by the very nature of the charity, “at-risk-youth.” COVID-19 has increased these risks dramatically.

Many of the kids at Trails are members of visible minority communities. Recent events in Canada and the US have shone a bright light on the challenges facing visible minorities.

Donate Today!

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