Music Biz Veteran Richard Flohil Celebrates 85th Birthday with Charity Concert

By Karen Bliss 6/24/19 |

Richard Flohil celebrates 85th — photo provided.
Music industry veteran and A-1 storyteller Richard Flohil is a force of nature, still out seeing bands in the clubs until the wee hours of the morning, pushing through crowds at outdoor music festivals to get a good spot, and sometimes going on the road to see a favourite artist — usually a friend. Big deal, you say? Well, it’s a big deal when you’ve just turned 85.

His birthday was June 24 and he will be celebrating at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern on Friday (June 28) with proceeds (after expenses) from the $25 tickets going to the Unison Benevolent Fund, a charitable service for Canadian musicians and members of the music industry to access emergency financial, medical and counselling assistance.

“Why Unison? Because being in music is hard enough as it is, and there’s no safety net if one is struck by illness, accident, financial disasters etcetera,” Flohil tells Samaritanmag. “On one level, the money raised, while not huge, helps — and on another level, at 85, maybe I’m just paying it forward for the time I might be ancient (as opposed to old), incontinent, poverty-stricken and broke.”

For more than 50 years, the transplanted Brit, identifiable by his ever-present white scarf, long-ish white hair and an inimitable speaking voice has worked in the business as a publicist, concert promoter, sometime manager and music journalist.

In the early stages of their careers, he helped and sang the praises of such artists as k.d lang, Loreena McKennitt, the Downchild Blues Band, Serena Ryder, Crash Test Dummies, and more.  He also worked with Ian Tyson, Ani diFranco, and Jeff Healey, and presented concerts by B.B. King, Miles Davis, The Chieftains, Bobby Blue Bland, Muddy Waters, Stephane Grappelli, and Benny Goodman.

Included with the price of admission on Friday are birthday cake and other munchies, except vegetables (the man has survived all these years avoiding them).

Performers are such Flohil-supported artists and friends as  Russell deCarle, Paul Reddick, Scotty Campbell, Ariana Gillis and David Gillis; Jay Aymar;  Cat and the Queen, Jenie Thai, Kaia Kater, Loryn Taggart, Saint Stella, Sonya Cote with Lena Luna Rose Cote, and Washboard Hank.

The hosts are Candace Shaw (Peterborough and Hillside Festival emcee), musician Shakura S’Aida, and Jaymz Bee (Jazz FM); and house band Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar.

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