Beedie Rocks And Charities Benefit

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Story by Joe Leary
Photos by Said Aziz

Imagine has the thought of hosting your own major rock music festival, replete with a roster of superstar talent, and setting it amid the pastoral splendor of one of Vancouver’s most treasured local environments: Stanley Park.

That very concept alone poses a daunting task


And if that indeed is your plan, how do you go about making it happen, given that logistically, you need to build an entire rock festival infrastructure within a limited framework?

Further, you want to add in a secondary stage for local support acts; enlist a multitude of curated food and beverage concession options; and create a uniquely branded T-shirt, designed by internationally acclaimed artist Tiko Kerr, as part of a souvenir gift bag.

As for the guest list, you want to extend complimentary invitations to a few thousand of your employees, clients, tenants, trades, colleagues, and friends, all in the name of benefit thing a select charity

That pretty much encapsulates “Beedie Rocks,” the biannual fundraising concert spectacular that began in 2016 as “Rock ’N the Park. After being rebranded in 2020 to its current identity, Rocks,” the first postcode event in this ongoing series took place August 12, 2023, in Malkin Bowl.

It was a true rock fest experience—and easily became the most sought-after ticket in town. Real estate developer and philanthropist Ryan Beedie, CEO of Beedie Development, one of Canada’s largest private industrial developers and property managers, and his wife, Cindy, are the masterminds behind this day-long rock spectacle. They take an extremely active and hands-on role in pulling off what is, without question, the ultimate Vancouver summertime concert event. 

While previous rosters have included Billy Idol and The Killers at the top of the marquee, this year’s star-studded line-up featured Bryan Adams as headliner, the legendary Blondie; former Go-Go’s singer Belinda Carlisle; Irish rockers “Inhaler”; and Juno Award-winning locals “Dear Rouge” on the bill. The addition of a secondary stage this year presented concertgoers with homegrown talent: Port Moody’s Tyson Venegas.

The teen singing sensation wowed the “American Idol” judging panel and finished among the “Top 12” finalists during this past season.

From that conversation, a major concert event would soon spring to life. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to thank our employees; tenants; our trades; anyone connected to this company, and connected to me and my wife, Cindy,” adds Beedie

It initially started as a thank-you to all of you for making our company. I knew it would be a lot of work but I love to host events, I love to celebrate, and it’s just like some big party. I wasn’t discouraged by the work involved as it sounded like it would be a lot of fun. The Beedie folk are well familiar with fun social gatherings through their own experiences over the years.

We’ve thrown events in the past that involved music, including my 40th birthday—so we knew that we had the right people in place at Brand LIVE who have done tons of festivals. It wasn’t like we were starting from scratch. We knew they could handle it.

But given such an undertaking, Beedie was also aware there would be challenges, be it civic politics or ecological concerns and the like. I think, looking back, the negative stuff fades away and you just look at the positives, he reflects. In general, that first event was maybe a little bit easier than I thought it would be because Brand LIVE already had a relationship with the Park Board and the people in Stanley Park. They knew how to navigate those challenges.


So where exactly did the concept of Beedie Rocks originate? A self-described music nut, Ryan Beedie recalls the moment the idea of such an ambitious undertaking in Stanley Park first presented itself. I won’t take credit for it, but I’m pretty sure I remember it being the summer of 2015, says Beedie, recalling the initial discussion of staging a branded, corporate event of such magnitude. My wife and I had just come back from the annual Coachella Festival and were at the company picnic. Cindy and I were having a chat with Jason Tonin, our vice president of land development, and he suggested we do a festival. I loved the idea!

The BrandLIVE crew virtually move heaven and earth to make the event happen seamlessly.


an award-winning event and sponsorship agency based in Vancouver.

Projects like Beedie Rocks are a mammoth undertaking, and concert events of this magnitude don’t just happen they’re planned down to the smallest detail.

Founded by Paul Runnals and partner Catherine, BrandLIVE has produced countless events in Vancouver and around BC, including concerts, major music festivals, award shows, the annual Celebration of Light fireworks, and myriad corporate events and fundraising galas, all since its inception in 1994.

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As a partner and senior vice president of creative and production, Paul serves as executive producer of Beedie Rocks. This man has been around the track more than a few times over the years, and his duties touch absolutely every single aspect of making pure event magic. It’s an all-encompassing role. I am responsible for all of the talent booking, staging, production, and operational elements, he says of ‘Beedie Rocks,’ as well as the licensing and permitting, working through the relationships I’ve built with the City and Park Board over many years of producing events.

I kind of have a foot in both of these worlds. Having begun his career working in theatre, Runnals went on to take a different path, opting instead for the touring world of rock and roll, where one of his earliest jobs was as a lighting technician on Sarah McLachlan’s 1993 Fumbling Towards Ecstasy tour. He would then help manage her worldwide tours for almost fifteen years, along with those of Prince, INXS, The Tragically Hip, Avril Lavigne and numerous others. When Ryan Beedie approached Runnals to have Brand LIVE produce the initial Rock ’N the Park concept, the response was an immediate yes

Ryan had this idea that he wanted to put an event on, and I was the connector, able to get access to Malkin Bowl during the summer season of ‘Theatre under the Stars,’ as I have an excellent relationship with that organization. The broader conversation was that we didn’t just want to use Malkin Bowl. We wanted to use the Stanley Park Pavilion and the Gardens as well and connect them all into one larger site. That was me leveraging and working the relationships that I have with the park staff. While old hat to someone with Runnals’s experience, the task of staging such an event is daunting. Planning is done well in advance and covers every single detail.

Any festival takes a full year to plan, sometimes longer, as was the case with the 2018 SKOOKUM Festival that Brand LIVE produced in Stanley Park. In the case of ‘Beedie Rocks,’ despite the fact it’s a complicated event with a significant budget, it’s at an existing venue so we’re programming bands into a space that already has a stage but we’re also adding other elements to it. It’s not as complex as starting with a grass field site that has nothing on it but still involves bringing in a significant amount of additional site infrastructure to expand the footprint and capacity beyond the typical setup. The first edition back in 2016 took over a year to plan, but it doesn’t take any less time now, because we keep growing it and adding new elements. The East Meadow field where the second stage is now located was a new addition this year, and we also moved the main catering tent over there. To say that a lot needs to occur within a very limited timeframe is an understatement. The Brand LIVE crew virtually moves heaven and earth to make the event happen seamlessly. Inside Malkin Bowl there’s an incredible amount of work that needs to happen within 12 hours because we only get access to the venue at 6 am, says Runnals. By 6 pm, we’ve got Bryan Adams’s crew onstage wanting to soundcheck.

So we have to transition from a fully-built ‘Theatre under the Stars’ environment, remove all of their scenery, seating, and front-of-house facilities, and load all of our concert equipment within those 12 hours. Brand LIVE is responsible for absolutely everything behind the scenes of Beedie Rocks, from making travel and flight arrangements for the artists to booking hotels and transporting the performers to and from the venue. This is all done with their full-time workforce of sixteen people, plus the addition of part-time staff that they utilize when they resource their specific projects. We infill where we need to with freelance contractors, he adds. As for the exact number of people involved in making Beedie Rocks the success it is—the answer is many! If you include security, food and beverage people, front of house and backstage personnel, IATSE stagehands, and so on, it’s anywhere from 400-500, says Runnals


For this year’s event, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank was selected as a first-time recipient of Beedie Rocks. We have always focused on different organizations we support, like the ‘One Campaign,’ and previously, the YWCA, says Beedie. This time we chose the food bank as they’re a tenant of ours and we have a really good relationship. We’ve been inspired by their incredible work and I thought ‘What a great platform for the wonderful work they’re doing,’ and ‘let’s educate the people,’ and it’s something I think that everyone can get behind. Beedie Rocks 2023 raised a whopping $2 million for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. The need couldn’t be greater.

Statistically, some 17,000 people per month utilize the Food Bank via direct distribution, while tens of thousands of others do so additionally through the organization’s 138 affiliated agency partners. Sadly, those numbers continue to rise. Very much so, acknowledges David Long, CEO of Greater Vancouver Food Bank, of the increasing dependence on their organization amid growing food insecurity throughout the Lower Mainland. We have gone from 6500 people (needing our services) per month to 17,000 — in just five years, he notes. Last year alone we distributed nine million pounds of food. Contributions from charitable endeavors such as Beedie Rocks are essential to provide sustenance to those in need (Beedie double-matched every donation). As demand for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank hampers this year has been unprecedented, David Long is extremely appreciative of the Beedies’ much-valued contribution. We are so grateful to Cindy and Ryan for their support and generosity, he says.

The Beedie organization from top to bottom is first class and every interaction we have with the Beedie team is a positive one. While the Greater Vancouver Food Bank is this year’s sole financial beneficiary, the contribution is merely a fraction of the organization’s ongoing community involvement. Primary among their corporate initiatives is Ryan’s latest philanthropic project, Beedie Luminaries.

Maintaining that your past doesn’t define your future, the Beedie Luminaries program is a scholarship designed specifically for students facing financial adversity and constrained by circumstance. It embodies the Built for Good philosophy that drives Beedie’s corporate world and philanthropic commitments.

It was Ryan’s experience growing up in Burnaby and seeing friends who did not have the same opportunities to pursue post-secondary education as he did that motivated him to establish the foundation, says Beedie Luminaries executive director, Martina Meckova. The registered foundation and non-profit society was created in 2018 with an initial $50 million personal donation from Beedie to coincide with his 50th birthday.

To date, Beedie Luminaries has awarded 625 scholarships valued at $44,000 each to Grade 12 students; students who are single parents; refugee students; and graduate students in British Columbia. That alone tops $27 million! In addition to financial support, every Beedie Luminary becomes part of a strong, diverse, and well-connected support network that helps them reach their full potential. It is a personal project that removes barriers while empowering those seeking higher education and providing financial support to those who are without means and facing adversity. Beedie Luminaries represent the diverse communities we live in, adds Meckova.

They are selected for their academic merit and their ability to demonstrate resilience, creativity, critical thinking, empathy, and purpose. These are individuals chosen for their potential to improve the world around them and their ability to contribute to a growing community. They are true luminaries. Beedie Rocks Cont’d ‘Beedie Rocks 2023’ raised a whopping $2 million for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. The need couldn’t be greater.


Philanthropy remains a vital element of the Beedie story and its ensuing legacy. Beedie has already contributed more than $100 million to several charitable endeavors over the years, including BC Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House. And 2023 has been another banner year for Ryan Beedie, both personally and professionally. His past philanthropic work has already earned him multiple awards and acknowledgments, including the prestigious Order of British Columbia. Additionally, the Burnaby-born developer was duly recognized earlier this year, being named “Business Leader of the Year 2023” by the esteemed Canadian Chamber of Commerce. And while any of those accolades alone may seem enough for a person to pull back on the reins, you simply don’t know this organization. Beedie is poised to continually add further; planning the next fundraising event already; configuring the benefactors; and perhaps, more immediately, drawing up the ideal roster of talent for “Beedie Rocks 2025.” It begs the question: Are the names of artists that will ultimately fill the bill of the next roster already being considered? “It’s funny you should ask because, yes,” he states. “I thought to myself after we had The Killers, how do you top that? “I told people, you don’t—and I’m not going to try because you can’t —there’s got to be an endpoint. “And this time with Bryan Adams, people thought that was great, but what do you do next time that’s maybe not equivalent but kind of in the same area? Just so long as we make each event memorable.

What’s better than Bryan Adams in Stanley Park? One can only imagine the potential line-up that’s being considered and the names swirling around in the mind of Ryan Beedie, this far in advance of the next event, slated for 2025. “That’s a conversation for another day,” he says, “but it’ll be good.” And, knowing Beedie—it’ll rock

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