2015 Juno Awards set to rock Hamilton


Tom Wilson, a strong and unabashed supporter of Hamilton, is among the musicians revved up for Juno Week celebrations this week. (Adrian Brijbassi file photo/

Story by Ofelia Legaspi Writer

Given that its video has more 435 million YouTube views, you’ve likely heard “Rude,” the catchy call for civility from brusque future in-laws by Canadian reggae group MAGIC! And maybe even that UK chart-topping hit from Kiesza, who hit the ground dancing in the EDM scene with the hypnotic one-shot video of “Hideaway.” And, surely, you’ve listened to what the caustic Alanis Morissette had to say about lost love in her 1996 Grammy Award-winning album “Jagged Little Pill.”

All of the above artists are poised to steal the show on Sunday, when Hamilton hosts the 44th annual Juno Music Awards.

MAGIC! leads the nominations with five nods, followed by Calgarian Kiesza with four nominations. Also performing is progressive-house music producer Deadmau5 (Beatport chart-topper, coffee run with ex-Toronto mayor Rob Ford) and Hamilton’s own Juno-winning Arkells.

Blue-collar Hamilton is often derided for its lack of beauty and sophistication, but things are changing fast in southern Ontario‘s Steel City. One reason to host the Junos is to bring awareness of that shift. Many talented musicians, chefs and artists have moved from Toronto to Hamilton because of its lower cost of living and higher number of opportunities to showcase their skills.

As the city emerges as an exciting cultural hub, it increases its attraction as a destination and also presents an opportunity to recall its importance in developing Canadian talent. Daniel Lanois and Tom Wilson of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are the most well-known musicians to call Hamilton home. Newer acts like the Arkells and Monster Truck are making people think twice about the city.

Sensational Kiesza is nominated for four Juno Awards. (Photo courtesy of

And it’s not all about the music. Juno Week gives Hamilton a chance to show off its eclectic culture. In and around the restored Lister Block, on the corner of James and King William streets, there are fresh art galleries, vintage stores and boutique shops that meld with architecture dating to the late 19th century. The fashion and theatre scenes round out the cultural offerings that will surprise many who have perceived Hamilton to be all about grit, grime and ghastly smokestacks.

So, while the Junos are a celebration of Canadian music, they also give the host city an opportunity to show itself off to the uninitiated.

Here are some noteworthy Juno Week events:

SiriusXM JUNO Awards Kickoff

The Sheepdogs perform, as do the Tokyo Police Club and Say Yes, at the Liuna Station (360 James Street North, Hamilton). Thursday, 8 pm, $20.

Play with punk- and puck-rockers in this celebrity fundraising hockey game for MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity. Friday, $20.

JUNOfest 2015
Catch performances by JUNO nominees and local acts at this two-night music festival spanning 15 Hamilton venues. Friday and Saturday, 9 pm to 2 am both nights, $30 wristbands, $15-$30 individual tickets.

[box_light]Read About Rocker Tom Wilson’s Love for Hamilton[/box_light]



When: Sunday, March 15, 7 pm ET (CTV)
Where: FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton, ON
Host: Jacob Hoggard, lead singer of Henley
Tickets: Admission ranges from $39 to $149 (plus service charges). Tickets are available through the FirstOntario Centre Box Office, by phone at 1-855-872-5000, and online at
Twitter/Instagram: @TheJunoAwards #JUNOS

What to Know: The Junos might be the awards show that honours the likes of Avril Lavigne and Nickelback, but the event also recognizes the merits of artists like indie-pop group Alvvays (No. 36 in Rolling Stones’ 50 Best Albums of 2014) and Polaris Prize-winning throat singer Tanya Tagaq. The nominees in each category reflects the diversity of Canada’s music scene. This Sunday’s Junos pit the likes of folk-music legend Leonard Cohen against electronic music chart-topper Deadmau5 and critically acclaimed PBR&B singer The Weeknd.


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