Musician Tom Cochrane poses in Toronto on Friday, February 6, 2015. The grounds of an infamous Ontario prison will be transformed into a rock music festival later this year. Darren Calabrese/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Headstones, Tom Cochrane, Tragically Hip members to perform at the Kingston Pen

Kingston Penitentiary closed in 2013 after the federal government deemed it outdated and too expensive

The grounds of an infamous Ontario prison will be transformed into a rock music festival later this year.

Singer Tom Cochrane and members of the Tragically Hip are among those expected to perform at the former Kingston Penitentiary for a charity concert on Sept. 14.

The Headstones, fronted by singer, actor and Kingston native Hugh Dillon, will headline the show called “Rockin’ the Big House” that’s expected to draw 2,500 people.

The Trews, Pursuit of Happiness and Kasador are also on the bill, as well as the Hip’s Paul Langlois, Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker, who are special guests.

Tickets are $75 and go on sale through Ticketmaster on Saturday at 10 a.m., with proceeds supporting the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.

The Kingston Penitentiary was once home to some of Canada’s most dangerous criminals including killers Clifford Olson and Paul Bernardo. It formally closed in 2013 after the federal government deemed it outdated and too expensive to run.

Now, curious visitors can book tours at the site through a program run by the City of Kingston, Correctional Service Canada and the St. Lawrence Parks Commission.

VIDEO: Tragically Hip singer-songwriter Gord Downie dies at 53

Bhavana Varma, president and CEO of the United Way of KFL&A, which is organizing the concert, said the organization used to run those tours and was familiar with the location.

They got the idea for the event when brainstorming a new way to approach their annual fundraiser, she said.

“It just seemed like, what’s unique in Kingston? And certainly the Pen is.”

The bands are performing without a fee and local breweries are donating beer to help raise money, she said.

READ MORE: ‘It only lacks your presence’: truth, art, words and the legacy of Gord Downie

The Canadian Press


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