Juno what London’s trying for this time?
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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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.