Rockin’ the Big House to Take Over Kingston Penitentiary

Published on: 2019/09/11 - in Entertainment

This Saturday, rockers will hit the stage at Canada’s oldest penitentiary for ROCKIN’ THE BIG HOUSE in support of United Way of KFL&A with Master of Ceremonies, the Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois.

UPDATE: Check out some (re)tweets from the concert by ‘Rockin the Big House’ below…

The September 14 Kingston Penitentiary concert will bring together some of the hottest talent in the country, including the Headstones, The Trews, The Pursuit of Happiness, and Kasador, with very special guest Tom Cochrane and special appearances by members of The Tragically Hip, when Paul Langlois is joined by Rob Baker and Gord Sinclair.

All of the artists have donated their time and talent to the event and it was no surprise when tickets for the rain or shine, 19+ event sold out within minutes this past May.

Singer-songwriter Tom Cochrane revealed this week he will be performing with an acoustic guitar alongside The Trews, followed by a couple of songs with “Kingston’s finest” and also hinted at a possible surprise or two for the audience.

“The excitement was there right from the start,” said Bhavana Varma, President and CEO of United Way KFL&A. “We knew with a limited number of tickets that they would go quickly. We were happy to see that so many of the tickets went to local residents. This event is very local, with the bands all having a Kingston connection. We are offering local food and beverage vendors and have over a hundred community volunteers to make it all possible. The show will benefit local programs through the United Way.”

Along with the performances, concert-goers can enjoy food options from specialty food trucks and restaurants as well as beverages from local wineries and breweries. Spearhead Brewing Co., a local craft brewery, is generously donating all beer and proceeds from beer sales to the United Way.

The concert has its eye on being more sustainable with no single-use plastics and each attendee receiving a stainless steel mug, thanks to a sponsorship from Secura Financial, that can be used during the event. Guests have also been encouraged to bring an empty reusable water bottle that can be filled at the Utilities Kingston water truck and to take advantage of OSKAR, the City of Kingston’s recycling truck, that will likewise be on site.

Much of the credit for putting together such a historic concert goes to the committee co-chaired by long-time United Way volunteers and supporters Pat Murphy, Chris Murphy, and Joanne Langlois, who says that creating a whole new brand of event has been very exciting and she hopes it can continue for years to come.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the first band take the stage,” Langlois added. “I can’t wait to feel the energy and enjoy the moment and know that we did it all and we did it for a great cause.”

Doors for the show will open at 4:30pm with performances beginning just after 6pm and ending by 11pm.

September 26 update: The United Way KFL&A reports the concert grossed $365,000 to support United Way’s youth initiatives.


UPDATE: Headstones and members of The Tragically Hip perform The Hip’s “Little Bones”:

(Re)tweets of the concert from Rockin’ the Big House:

See more concert photos on United Way KFLA on Facebook

Schedule of performances (accompanying songs may or may not be performed at this show):


TPOH (The Pursuit of Happiness)

The Trews

Tom Cochrane and Friends


The event is made possible through partnerships with the City of Kingston, St. Lawrence Parks Commission, Correctional Service of Canada as well as presenting sponsor, lead sponsors Otter Creek Farms and Spearhead Brewing Co., platinum sponsors Bergeron Clifford Injury Lawyers and J.E. Agnew Food Services Inc., and gold sponsor Sousa Ready Mix Inc. Over 100 volunteers will also be helping out at the show to make sure it runs smoothly.

For more information about the event visit and follow the concert on Twitter and at its Facebook page.

KP photo: Bill Badzo (cc)