Hugh's Room Live

Hugh's Room Live has now opened as a community-based not-for-profit club.   Our fundraising campaign continues as we move towards our goals to ensure  long term viability.  

Hugh's Room, Toronto's beloved acoustic music club, closed its doors suddenly and unexpectedly in January 2017 after 16 years of operation.  

There was an immediate and overwhelming response to this potential loss to the musical community, with substantial coverage  in the local and national media (Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, Toronto Sun, Now, Exclaim, National Post, Jazz-FM, CBC, CTV, Global,, WholeNote, and many others).  

Many members of the music community and public have asked how they could help to save or revive their beloved Hugh's Room.

In response, a working group of volunteers assembled and has developed a viable plan for re-opening Hugh's Room as a not-for-profit organization.  

The group includes lawyers, business people, accountants, music promoters, publicists, venue operators and members of the community (members are listed below).  

Brian Iler, lawyer and social activist, is chair of the working group.  Grit Laskin has been named spokesperson.  

The group has determined that Hugh's Room can clearly sustain itself financially going forward.  With the right infrastructure and community support, the legacy of Hugh's Room can be continued.  Toronto can continue to have a destination venue that presents the genres, variety and high quality of music that Hugh's Room is renowned for across the continent.

What’s the plan?
A new community based not-for-profit organization,  has been formed. The club has been renamed Hugh's Room Live,  and opened on April 22 with a sold-out concert by Connie Kaldor.  

Anthony Ferrando, the original general manager of the club,  is returning, and is excited at the renewed mandate to bring the new Hugh's Room Live to an even higher standard. 

Derek Andrews is on board for artist booking and marketing as we ramp up to a full quotient of programming.  Derek brings decades of experience in booking and artist management, and an international reputation,. 

Our fundraising campaign: 
Fundraising goal is $250,000.   These fund are being used to purchase assets, secure a lease, provide necessary working capital, and create a financial buffer to stablize the operation.

The first $30,000 required by February 20.  

Another $45,000 by March 5.  

Another $50,000 by April 15. 


Another $50,000 by July 15.

Another $25,00 by August 31 (or earlier if prior goals are met).  

For those who prefer to donate by cheque or e-transfer: 
Cheques – payable to Iler Campbell in Trust, mailed to: Iler Campbell LLP, 150 John St., Seventh Floor, Toronto M5V 3E3
 E-transfer to: [email redacted] - provide Brian Iler with the security answer via email: [email redacted]   

(Donors: Please include contact information including email address so we can send updates.)

Thank You Donors! An incredible group of people have stepped up to help put Hugh's Room Live get on track with donations in recent months. Virtually every target has been hit and we continue to see donations from those who realize "it takes a village to raise" a nightclub from ashes.

Our plans to offer an evening of entertainment as a gesture of thanks will be happening once we get the club rolling along with more shows and we sort out all the details of our new web site, programming and get our staff taken care of with more shifts serving our loyal patrons. Our win, win, win, scenario of music, audiences and the staff returning is a good news story flying in the face of the "vanishing venues" trend threatening Toronto's music culture. Can you continue to help us?

The sold out Connie Kaldor and Gala are indications of community enthusiasm for our offerings, of which many more are in the works. Please check our web site, subscribe to our newsletter, visit our facebook page for more information, and tell your friends, we are back.

Derek Andrews, Music Programmer, Hugh's Room Live

Please show your support and make your donation as early as possible. 


Who is involved ? 

The working group came together informally, in response to the news of Hugh’s Room’s closing.  All are fans of Hugh’s Room, and wanted to explore how it could open as a community‑owned venture. It includes:

Jeremy Darby, owner Canterbury Music Co (recording studio)

Howard Gladstone, businessman, musician, co-founder Toronto City Roots Festival 2004-2010

Jane Harbury, freelance publicist, has worked for Hugh's Room for many years

Brian Iler, lawyer, chair Northwinds Folk Festival (1984/85), engaged with many community initiatives

Grit Laskin, musician, luthier, member Order of Canada, spokesperson for the Hugh's Room working committee

Judith Laskin, retired educator, founding board member CFMA,  director The Woods Music & Dance Camp, past board member Mariposa Folk Festival under Estelle Klein

Brian Litvin, accountant and musician

Franks Saunders, businessman with a long history of involvement in folk concert and festival production.

Rob Young, advertising executive and musician

What about financial transparency? 

As a not-for-profit community-based operation, Hugh’s Room Live will release its budgets and financial statements.

What about people who bought tickets to cancelled shows? 

The working group is acutely aware of the financial fallout from the cancelled shows, for both audience and artists alike from the old business.  Patrons of cancelled shows can contact their credit card company to obtain a refund.  Note this can normally be done only after the show date has passed.

What about people who bought tickets to shows that will happen? 

As a goodwill gesture Hugh's Room Live will honour any paid tickets occurring once we open.  We will work out the mechanics when we are up and running with access to the club's computers and records.

What about the former employees of the old Hugh's Room? 

The new organization (Hugh's Room Live)  is committed to re-opening the club.  Doing that is the best way to assist employees who have been hurt by the closure. Our plan is to hire as many of them as we can, as soon as we can.  

Stay up-to-date with Hugh's Room Live!
Visit the website for concert listings, and to sign up for the weekly newsletter.  


Email the Hugh’s Room Live working group c/o Grit Laskin, its spokesperson at [email redacted], or our General manager Anthony Ferrando at [email redacted]

We ask for your generous donations to enable Hugh's Room Live to rise from the ashes, and continue to provide a great venue and gathering place for the music community.

Here is some of the media coverage on the sudden closing of Hugh's Room, and plans to open a new club - Hugh's Room Live. 

WholeNote: Is there still room for Hugh's?

CBC News: Good news for Hugh's Room fans: venue plans on re-opening "as soon as possible"

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Organizer and beneficiary

Howard Gladstone 
Toronto, ON
Brian Iler 
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