Our music community has suffered an incredible loss with the passing of Kevin Walters.
Kevin has been a legend in Manitoba’s music scene for decades. A concert promoter, manager, industry worker, mover and shaker, super connector, Kevin knew everyone and everyone knew him. He used that power to help people build their careers, to reach new heights, and to, in turn, connect with others.
Kevin has been everywhere. Once upon a time, he was a DJ, managed Night Moves, was a booking agent with the Hungry I Agency, formed his own artist management and production company Twin Productions, took a gig as merchandising manager for Barenaked Ladies, and had a long career at the manager of sound recording programs at Manitoba Film & Music.
Throughout his time with MFM, Kevin had a massive impact on the lives of all of us in Manitoba’s music community, helping to foster careers and mentor developing entrepreneurs, sharing his wealth of knowledge and expertise. For many, Kevin was the first industry person they met as they embarked on their careers. He helped countless artists make groundbreaking albums, play for audiences across the world, touch the lives of their audiences, and realize their dreams.
Kevin was the guy behind the scenes making things happen. He helmed the 2006 Grey Cup Festival, helped to bring the Canadian Country Music Awards to Winnipeg, was a primary founder of the Prairie Music Awards that became the Western Canadian Music Awards and BreakOut West, launched the Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival, organized Manitoba Homecoming 2010 and Culture Days, booked talent at the Red River Ex, and was an integral part in bringing The JUNO Awards to Winnipeg not once but twice. If there was a major live music event, Kevin was probably involved and you could usually catch a glimpse of him smiling and greeting the countless people he knew in any room.
We have been incredibly lucky to have Kevin as part of Manitoba Music’s board of directors for over a decade. He took on the role of president in 2012 and continued his tenure until his passing. During his time with us, he has helped Manitoba Music immeasurably; he’s been an instrumental part of our growth and development into an internationally-respected music organization.
He has supported us, challenged us, listened to us, led us, and mentored all of us. We are all better for knowing him. He had a smile for everyone, a calm centre in any storm, impeccable judgment, and a generosity that made it easy to work with him. He has always been a ubiquitous presence in Manitoba’s community, loved and respected by all who worked with him, knew him, or even just heard of him. He made so many friends here at home, across the country, and beyond.
Words can’t express this loss to our community. His absence leaves a void. We have all been fortunate in the time we’ve shared with Kevin and celebrate his life, his accomplishments, and his incredible spirit. Our thoughts are with his family, his friends, and all who knew him. We will all miss him so much.