Cross-Canada Christian concerts are slowly coming back, and Unite Productions has announced that Pat Barrett will be leading the way.
"Unite has been in the Christian live event space for 22 years now, although we were shut down for two years," says Paul Kelly, the President and Founder of Unite Productions Inc. "We refunded 9,000 tickets and didn't sell any in the last two years. We normally sell 60,000 tickets per year across the country."
Unite made a pretty big announcement recently, letting fans know that Pat Barrett is doing a cross-Canada tour this September.
"I don't know that [shows and live events] are in full swing yet. We're just going to try and piece things together. We're so happy that our first one is 7-8 weeks away and it's Pat Barrett. We love him and his songs."
According to Kelly, the Christian Copyright Licensing Incorporated (CCLI) measures what songs are the top 100 songs sung in Canada. Many churches have licenses with them and Barrett has the number four song sung in churches across Canada, with 'Build Your Life.' His song, 'Good Good Father' is in the 20th spot.
"His new album is out and it has just amazing songs. He's one of those new emerging song artists that is writing new songs and is going to be around for a long time."
Past Two Years for the Entertainment Industry
When the pandemic hit, Kelly was touring with For King & Country across Canada. They had performed in Ottawa and were about to perform in Toronto when they heard of a new announcement being made by the Canadian government.
"When we pulled in in the morning, we were told by the Executive Director at the venue that we could go ahead and set up but there was an announcement coming at 3:00 with the Minister of Health and the Premier of Ontario that might say we had to shut down and might not deliver the concert."
At 5:00 that day, the announcement was made that at midnight, any and all large gathering of people would be shut down for the following three weeks to 'get ahead' of COVID.
"We got to deliver the Toronto show but then sent everybody back to Nashville."
Kelly remembers how strange things were on March 15, the very next day, in downtown Toronto.
"It was so weird. I was going to fly to Montreal so I got up, in a bit of a daze as to what just happened. This was probably the biggest, most successful show we'd ever done, with For King & Country. The next day I got up and went for a walk and get a coffee, downtown Toronto, and there was no one on the streets. It was like the twilight zone."
Kelly and his team rescheduled For King & Country's cross-Canada tour between three and four times, cancelling each one as the date got closer. Finally, in 2021 Kelly got another job with International Justice Mission (IJM), as entertainment was still halted.
"Definitely pray for us and get the word out, get the tickets selling. We need to see an overwhelming response to live Christian events."
Pat Barrett's full lineup for dates and cities he'll be stopping at can be found here. Unite Productions is also working on getting more Christian artists to Canada as soon as possible. However, Canada still has a restriction that only double vaccinated people against COVID-19 can cross the border which limits many acts coming into Canada. The Canadian government announced this order on June 29 and it is in place September 30.
"We're working on other stuff and soon we'll be coming with all the dates for other Christian artists."