Manitoba Artists Head West for WCMAs

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The Western Canadian Music Awards make their way to Calgary on September 30 to October 3, bringing with them some of the best music in the west. Manitoba will send 17 acts from a variety of genres to showcase at the second annual festival taking place in downtown Calgary. Manitoba artists are also ready to take home a record number of trophies from the awards gala. Local acts have been nominated for 33 awards in 20 different categories, making homegrown talent second only to British Columbia in nominations. The WCMAs include artists from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Albert, British Columbia, and the Yukon.

Nominees include punk poets The Weakerthans, rockers The Harlots, children’s artists LuLu and the TomCat, and pop/duo Easily Amused. Easily Amused, prior to hearing the announcement of their nomination for Simple Stuff, played their song “Better That Way” to kick-off the press conference. Kimberely Dawn, The Wailin’ Jennys The Harlots, The Weakerthans, and Doc Walker all stand to win multiple awards. In addition to being up for Oustanding Country Recording Award, Doc Walker is up for Entertainer of the Year, against big names acts like Nickelback, Sarah McLachlan, and Nelly Furtado. The Entertainer of the Year Award is fan-based, allowing the public to vote online at the WCMA website.

Showcasing acts include Aboriginal genre-smashers Burnt, folk-monsters das macht SHOW!, folk/pop duo Easily Amused, and country-rockers Foster Martin Band. The Harlots, Jet Set Sattelite, Projektor, Tin Foil Phoenix, and Vanderveen round out the Manitoba rock while Paper Moon and Novillero contribute the indie pop-rock quotient.Singer/songwriter Jaylene Johnson, jazz vocalist Jodie Borle, hip-hop mainstay Mood Ruff, alt.country act Nathan, and francophone act Kraink will also be showcasing. Showcases provide an excellent opportunity for artists to be heard by some of the top music industry professionals in Canada and beyond.

The WCMAs have grown significantly in their short life span as seen in the development of the International Program. This year will see a larger contingent of International Delegates, with nearly 30 International buyers (agents, A/R Reps, festival directors, record distributors) from Australia, Europe, UK, and across the US, coming to seek out new talent for export. The Festival had to be expanded due to the sheer quality and number of applicants – this year’s will be without question, the most exciting festival in the history of the event.

A record number of labels will be presenting showcase nights including local label Endearing, as well as Nettwerk, Boompa and Saved By Radio, each hosting a night during the festival – promoting their acts to the public and the industry. In response to having nearly a dozen Independent Labels from across Canada represented, the WCMA conference will host an Independent Canadian Label Forum.

The 3rd Annual Western Canadian Music Awards will take place in Vancouver, October 20 to 23, 2005.

For more information on the WCMAs, please visit www.westerncanadianmusicawards.ca.

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