By Akilah James
Canadian Music Week (CMW) has grown to become one of Canada’s largest and most influential media and music conferences. Bringing in talent from all over Canada, CMW brings together top industry professionals to participate in a four-day event full of amazing talent and entertainment.
Now in its 38th year, Canadian Music Week began in 1981 and is dedicated to the expression and growth of Canada’s music, media, and entertainment industries. CMW - The nation's largest music festival will take place from May 18 to 21 this year.
Pre-pandemic, the festival consisted of hundreds of bands at more than 40 live music venues and multi-faceted information-intensive conferences, a trade exposition, and awards shows.
While nothing beats the experience of attending a music festival in person, CMW has had no choice but to adapt to the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, the festival opted to turn this fun-filled experience into a virtual four-day event.
According to Danya Dizon – CEO, Canadian Music Week, this was not an easy task, as they have had to postpone the event two times.
Dixon said: “Live is live. You cannot get the same energy and atmosphere virtually but we are trying to do everything we can to make it as personable as possible. We’ve done a lot of research on how to make this a great event.”
While the pandemic affected planning and production of the event, it also changed the way featured artists would participate in events - usually held in person. However, going virtual is helping many artists build their online presence.
“We usually do the Jim Beam National Talent Search where we go to different venues and provinces and pick a winner that gets to perform at the Indies. Because it wasn’t live this year, we brought the bands into recording studios where they got to do professional video recordings they can disseminate to their socials and all their fans,” said Dixon.
“It’s not something they wouldn't have received had they done it live in front of only a 100 people. Now that content is living up on Internet with over four million impressions.”
Though going completely virtual Canadian Music Week still has an exciting line-up of guest speakers and artists.
“We're excited to have Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis who we’re super stoked about. We also have Timbaland, Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace, Bob Leftsetz, Debrah Rathwell from AEG and many more,” added Dixon.
Dixon believes festivals like Canadian Music Week are important to the Canadian music world because they provide Canadian artists with a space to get well-needed exposure and recognition.
“Canadian Music Week is actually an international festival and conference and we do take bands from other countries, but we really represent our Canadian acts. It’s really for the mutual beneficial love of music and to represent our Canadian artists,” said Dixon.
“We also do an importing/exporting mission with various countries every year. We take Canadian acts and bring them to different countries so they can interact with music industry veterans down there and they bring their acts to Canada. The hope is for these artists to be internationally known, not just in Canada.”
What event or artist are you most excited to see during the upcoming Canadian Music Week? Let us know here!