The Heart of the Country

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The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) today announced Winnipeg as host city for the 2008 Canadian Country Music Week and Awards, to be held September 5-8, 2008. This marks the third time Winnipeg will host Canada’s largest country music event.

The Chair of the CCMA, Heather Ostertag, officially announced the awarding of Country Music Week 2008 to the City of Winnipeg, acknowledging that more than two decades had passed since the event was last held in that city (1986). Ostertag added, “The CCMA is very pleased to return to Winnipeg and the Board of Directors invites both the community and our industry to join in and help make this a wonderful celebration and a wonderful opportunity for Canada's talent.”

Music is integrated into the fabric of Winnipeg and Manitoba, and shapes the heartland of Canada’s musical tradition. Artists such as Neil Young, Doc Walker, The Guess Who, and countless others launched their careers here.

“Manitoba has always been a great place for music and artists,” said Premier Gary Doer. “We were proud to host the JUNO Awards last year and just this year we hosted the Western Canadian Music Awards and the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. With this announcement, we will show the country yet again that Winnipeg is a music town.”

Canadian Country Music Week and Awards is one of the largest music events in Canada.

“The Canadian Country Music Awards will be another tremendous opportunity to showcase our city to a national audience,” said Mayor Sam Katz. “Winnipeg is certainly excited to play host to the hottest talent in Canadian country music and I know our city will once again step up to the plate and deliver a world class event.”

Winnipeg presented a strong bid to the CCMA and was awarded the event based on a combination of solid commitments from the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg, excellent host facilities, a solid track record in hosting major events, and a long established reputation as a city that embraces Canadian music and culture.

Destination Winnipeg put the successful bid together for the 2008 Canadian Country Music Week and Awards in partnership with the Bid Committee, whose members included:
• Co-chair, Kevin Walters, Manitoba Film & Sound
• Co-chair, Ray Martin, Manitoba Country Music Association
• Ginette Lavack, Destination Winnipeg
• Kevin Donnelly, True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd., MTS Centre
• Sam Baardman, Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association
• Sara Stasiuk, Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association
• Gilles Paquin, Paquin Entertainment

Kevin Walters, Co-Chair of the Winnipeg Bid Committee with Ray Martin said, “We are thrilled to welcome Canadian Country Music Week to Winnipeg in September 2008. Our committee looks forward to working with the Canadian Country Music Association over the next two years to plan a weeklong celebration of country music in true Winnipeg style. More than 1,000 members of the country music industry will descend on our city to enjoy workshops, parties and the Country Music Awards. The people of Manitoba are in for a great event!”

“True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd. and the MTS Centre are proud to once again play a role in bringing another major event to our province. We are confident that the MTS Centre will help showcase the best in Canadian country music and give Manitobans the chance to be a part of this fantastic event,” commented Kevin Donnelly, Senior Vice President & General Manager, MTS Centre.

Several venues in the Winnipeg area, in addition to the MTS Centre who will be playing host to the 2008 Canadian Country Music Awards, will be showcasing special entertainment events that customarily accompany the annual Canadian Country Music Week. Location and programming details will be announced at a later date.

“Canadian Country Music Week in Winnipeg 2008 will, like the 2005 JUNO Awards, showcase excellence in Canadian music and provide significant economic benefits and national exposure for our city,” said Stuart Duncan, President of Destination Winnipeg Inc.

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