Juno's a Good Thing?
So already there is a debate on the validation of the Juno’s coming to London March 11-18, 2019 and who it is, or is not going to benefit in the pool of local musicians. Some have argued that while it will benefit the local industry of restaurants, shops and hotels – that the spillover will not enhance the chances of local musicians getting gigs or showcases during the Awards show. In essence that some musicians will be “locked out” of venues that normally they would play at, if the showcases weren’t going on.
Well my take on it is that is it is going to be a GREAT moment in time to have the local music community all on the same page of excitement and interaction with each other, during a national awards show that has the reputation of the Juno’s.
Let’s face it.
The Juno’s are the only award that can change a musician’s career for the better here in Canada. The Winners are chosen by either members of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences or a panel of experts depending on the award. Nominees are determined by CARAS members for Single of the Year, Artist and Group of the Year.
It’s not a public based popularity contest and I have never met a musician that wouldn’t like to win a Juno or a Grammy for that matter – it becomes a stamp of excellence to even be nominated.
How will it affect London Musicians?
Well in the downtown core there will be an impact on musician’s in relation to venue gigs, it’s not a case of them being “locked out”, it is simply a case of in this instance the “need of the many outweighs the need of the few – or the one.” These showcases in downtown venues will be a shot of much needed revenue – especially so with the Flex Street and BTR threatening their lively hood on the horizon. It will also trickle down in that these venues might need to hire more servers and cooks to handle the crowds – nothing to criticize there in boosting employment.
The down side is that not every venue in the city is going to benefit from the Juno’s. Not too many industry heavyweights are going to venture out of the core nor will those that come to the city to see the show as fans/tourists.
They will congregate mostly downtown and the ones that stay in hotels by the 401 will cab it in to the core to the event they want to attend.
As for the musicians that will get those showcases or special opening slots, well that is where it gets both interesting and unfair. There are some bands in the city that have been “groomed” for this very point in time.
Chris Campbell and his people have been working on bringing the Juno’s here for over a year and deserves all the praise for this accomplishment – if not for his relenting drive this would not have happened and I’ve very, very happy for him.
Having said that I certainly hope there is some level of fairness applied to who gets the priority gigs, being on someone’s “favorites list” shouldn’t be the determining factor in who plays or who doesn’t, who gets to meet someone of merit and who doesn’t.
The reality is that is exactly what will happen; it’s the nature of the beast.
The industry and by extension the Juno’s, are a tool to gauge who the industry is going to put their marketing weight behind to push them up the ladder.
Yes it’s a mark of excellence to win the award but it also is equally about recognizing who could be the next act that could go international and sell with the big boys on the circuit. That award sitting on your mantle is one hell of an asterisk on your resume yet at the same time it is a coveted bullet point that you have stepped out from the pack and there is nothing wrong with that.
So is the Juno’s going to benefit the London musicians, no of course not and it’s not intended to. Does the Memorial Cup benefit midget hockey players or the beer league? Again, no and it is not intended for that purpose.
I listened to Graham Henderson of Music Canada four years ago at a seminar, talk about London being a “Music City” and I just smiled. As I looked around the room and saw people buying into this goop with big grins on their faces, I just shook my head. Then he wandered into the Austin scenario and it was like watching a Marvel movie – we had just stepped off of planet earth into the abyss of fantasy.
I agree with some of my peers that when the Juno’s have packed up and left town and Dundas and Richmond becomes an apocalyptic drug den again – things will return to normal and life will go on. Hopefully some people’s lives will be enhanced by it via their music career or that $100.00 tip to a server from a drunken patron.
Regardless, enjoy it for what it is and when it arrives, just get out as much as you can take in some great music, good food and drinks with friends.
I personally think it’s a great thing and I will get nothing out of it personally nor do I expect to – I get to see friends, take pics and hear some great music so for me it’s a no brainer.
In the end isn’t that all that really matters in the short lives we have.
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