Juno what Lon­don’s try­ing for this time?

The Beacon Herald - - NEWS - ME­GAN STACEY POST­MEDIA NEWS Juno Awards

LON­DON — Big-ticket sport­ing events, and coun­try mu­sic’s big show too. Been there, done that. Now, of­fi­cials are craft­ing a bid to bring the 2019 Juno Awards, which rec­og­nize Canada’s top mu­si­cal tal­ent, to Lon­don in a move boost­ers say would give the city a $10-mil­lion or more boost in spinoffs dur­ing an en­tire year of in­dus­try and fan events.

“It could be in ex­cess of $10 mil­lion,” Chris Camp­bell, Tourism Lon­don’s di­rec­tor of cul­ture and en­ter­tain­ment tourism, said Wed­nes­day. “It would be a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity for Lon­don.”

Two city politi­cians are ask­ing city coun­cil to put $500,000 be­hind the ef­fort — money that wouldn’t be paid out if Lon­don strikes out — to bring the awards here.

To­tal cost of the bid is $1.7 mil­lion, but that fee is only paid by the win­ning bid­der.

Tourism Lon­don said it won’t tap the city for any­thing be­yond the $500,000, but will seek provin­cial and other fund­ing sources for the other $1.2 mil­lion.

“The Junos are one of the largest cul­tural events in Canada” Coun. Mo Salih said of the bid.

“It so­lid­i­fies our po­si­tion as a mu­sic des­ti­na­tion and a mu­sic city.”

Salih and Deputy Mayor Paul Hu­bert will make the half-mil­lion­dol­lar pitch to coun­cil next week.

Lon­don has held plenty of ma­jor sport­ing events, from the Memo­rial Cup to the World Fig­ure Skat­ing Cham­pi­onships, and has been build­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for mu­sic in­dus­try arts and fes­ti­vals.

Last year, Lon­don basked in a na­tional spot­light hold­ing the Cana­dian Coun­try Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion awards show and a week of cel­e­bra­tions that came with it, a se­ries of events that drew thou­sands to the city and gave the lo­cal econ­omy an es­ti­mated $8.4-mil­lion shot in the arm, of­fi­cials say.

At the time, some qui­etly con­sid­ered the event a dry run for a fu­ture Junos bid.

Camp­bell said the city’s suc­cess with the coun­try awards showed its po­ten­tial for an even big­ger ven­ture.

“We proved our­selves again, to wel­come the en­tire Cana­dian coun­try mu­sic in­dus­try, and did a fan­tas­tic job. The Junos is a sig­nif­i­cantly larger event, but we are up to the task,” he said.

The Junos were held in Toronto ev­ery year un­til 1991, when the awards cer­e­mony be­gan trav­el­ling around the coun­try. Smaller cities haven’t been ex­cluded: St. John’s, Saska­toon and Regina have played host to the in­dus­try show­case.

Land­ing the Junos could help Lon­don’s cred­i­bil­ity in the mu­sic in­dus­try, not just on the na­tional scene but also at • • home, the owner of a lo­cal mu­sic venue said.

“It can build some es­teem in our city,” said Clark Bryan, owner of Ae­o­lian Hall. “And peo­ple have con­fi­dence that we’re a city that can pull that off.”

But with all the fo­cus trained on vis­it­ing mu­si­cians, the pic­ture for lo­cal artists isn’t al­ways so rosy, he said.

“Although it can ben­e­fit some big­ger play­ers, like venues, the trickle down isn’t al­ways that good,” Bryan said. “Ev­ery­thing be­comes cen­tred . . . on say­ing, ‘We have these fa­mous peo­ple here.’”

He said he hopes the Juno bid will prompt a con­ver­sa­tion about in­volv­ing lo­cal artists and mak­ing the arts ac­ces­si­ble to all Lon­don­ers.

“Par­tic­i­pat­ing in cre­ativ­ity is such a great thing on a per­sonal level and also such a skill-build­ing as­set. Com­pa­nies are look­ing for the cre­atives,” Bryan said.

City hall has sought to de­velop a rep­u­ta­tion as a mu­sic city in re­cent years, to vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess. A “mu­sic strat­egy” is among the work taken on by a newly cre­ated Lon­don Mu­sic Of­fice, and Fan­shawe Col­lege’s mu­sic in­dus­try arts pro­gram was named Canada’s top mu­sic school ear­lier this year. mstacey@post­media.com With files by Pa­trick Maloney, The Lon­don Free Press

Be­gan as reader sur­veys in an in­dus­try mag­a­zine. First cer­e­mony was held in 1970, un­der a dif­fer­ent name, be­fore it be­came the Juno Awards in 1971. • Named for Pierre Juneau, the first head of the Cana­dian Ra­dio-Tele­vi­sion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion and a cham­pion of Cana­dian con­tent. • Anne Mur­ray has won the most Junos, win­ning 24 awards and claim­ing 52 nom­i­na­tions. • Ce­line Dion is close be­hind with 20 wins and 72 nom­i­na­tions. • The Junos in­clude more than 40 award cat­e­gories.



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