Canadian Music Week rocks Toronto


Joey Bada$$ is among the rising musicians who have performed at Canadian Music Week over the years. (Dylan Leeder photo)

Story by Rod Charles Deputy Editor

TORONTO, ONTARIO — Canadian Music Week is back in Toronto, featuring musical acts from Canada and around the world. As keen as I am to check out the talent, I’m painfully aware these days I don’t know the bands half as well as I used to and when I go to Canadian Music Week I always feel there are more bands I don’t know than bands that I do.

Strange as this may sound that’s part of the fun and one of the reasons why every tourist should make it a point to check out this talent-jammed Ontario festival at least once in their life. Even if you aren’t a rabid fan of live music — or know little about the music scene in general — you’ll love grooving with some of the finest emerging music talent on the planet.


Lights, an accomplished singer-songwriter, performed in Toronto this week. (Dylan Leeder photo)

Trust me, you’ll be spoiled for choice and I guarantee that you won’t have any problems finding outstanding musicians. Canadian Music Week has hundreds of showcasing bands at more than 40 live music venues. Some big names headlining the event this year are Canadian duo Tegan and Sara, Eagles of Death Metal, Skepta, X Ambassadors, The Black Lips, Collective Soul, Holy Holy, Canadian singer and songwriter Lights, and Wild Nothing. The Sheepdogs from Saskatoon, Hannah Georgas and the HUMANS from Vancouver, Jeff The Brotherhood, Amir Obe, Max Frost and Diarrhea Planet are also appearing.

No Shortage of Great Bands

There are three reasons why Canadian Music Week always ignites enthusiasm. First, something is sure to pique your interest and you will hear outstanding music from someone you’ve never heard of before. One of the things I love about Canadian Music Week is you can walk into a venue to listen to an up-and-coming group you may never have heard of and listen to outstanding music. And sometimes, more often than you think, you are listening to a musician or a band that will be a star in the not-so-distant future.

Second without question are all the awesome Canadian acts, too many to name in this post: A Fellow Ship, Alina Libkind, Benn Nudds, Black Lion, Conrad Downey (Toronto), Kenny James (Sackville), KIDS (North Vancouver), Moon Tan, Attica Riots (Winnipeg), Adam Strangler, Apigeon, Motel Raphaël (Montreal), Poor Young Things (Thunder Bay), Splitfist (Milton), The Pistol Whips (Saskatoon), Willa (Vancouver) are just a handful of musicians and bands that will be on stage.

Third, Canadian Music Week is a great draw for international performers. This year the audience will be treated to Filous, Mieux (Vienna, Austria), Fire Department Club (Brazil), Axel Flovent (Iceland), On-The-Go (Russia) and Yuna (Malaysia). And yes, I haven’t heard of many of these musicians either.


Halifax’s Rich Aucoin brought his east coast sound to Toronto for Canadian Music Week last year. (Dylan Leeder photo)

The event also features several awards. The 2016 Live Music Industry Awards will be celebrated on May 7 from 11 am-12:30 pm at the Sheraton Centre Hotel. This award represents a full scope of the Live Industry from Best Non Profit Festival, A/V Supplier of the Year, Production Manager of the Year to Best Major Club of the Year.

This year, Canadian Recording Artist Nelly Furtado will be honoured with the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award for her extensive work with Free The Children and participation in We Day. The award will be presented at the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards gala to be held on Thursday May 5 at The Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Centre.

“I am greatly honoured to be recognized by the Slaight family with this award and thrilled to join the ranks of a list of musical peers whom I greatly admire,” said Furtado in a press release.

Canadian Music Week will also announce the winner of the 16th Annual Independent Music Awards, which will be presented by Indie88, on May 4 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre.


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Rod has previously worked for and is currently freelancing for Huffington Post Travel. He’s also written travel articles for the Toronto Star and Up! Magazine. Living in Toronto but raised in the small central Ontario village of Holstein, Rod is a country boy at heart who has never met a farmer’s market he didn’t like.

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