Manitoba Music Year in Review

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The Bros. Landreth accept their award at the 2015 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards

We’re not really sure where the year went. It seems like only a few days ago that we were cracking into 2015 with a busy slate of events and initiatives, building on the momentum from the Year of Music with new executive director Sean McManus at the helm. As we head into the last few days of the year, here are a few moments that stood out…

Local artists and music entrepreneurs earned quite a few accolades this year, with over 132 nominations and 46 awards, including multiple honours for Tanya Tagaq, Steve Bell, Fresh I.E. Doc Walker, Paquin Entertainment, and JUNOS for The Bros. Landreth and Fred Penner.

Speaking of Fred Penner... he hosted the Polaris Music Prize Gala.

Manitoba acts logged a lot of hours on the road, touring across the country and beyond, hitting cities in Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Japan, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Switzerland, the US, and the UK.

Manitoba venues, clubs, and festivals presented over 6,000 live music events throughout the province.

We launched v2.0 of our free MB Live concert-finding app for Android and iOS, making it even easier for music fans in Manitoba to find their music and for artists, promoters, venues, and festivals to connect with new audiences.

We welcomed Anthony Augustine and Andrea Davis to the team. We also said farewell to beloved staff members Donna Evans and Dave Henry, who’ve gone on to do new and fun things at Prairie Theatre Exchange and Canadian Music Week, respectively.

Manitoba Music presented and co-presented over 60 showcases and concerts, including events in Berlin, Warsaw, London, Liverpool, Tokyo, Nashville, Minneapolis, Halifax Toronto, Montreal, Flin Flon, and Winnipeg. 

Through our Market Access Program, we supported 48 acts and companies on 32 market development events this year, to build their business in music markets all over the world, including SXSW, Reeperbahn Festival, Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape, NXNE, M for Montreal, Francofolies de Montreal, Movement Festival, Canadian Country Music Awards, BreakOut West, WOMEX, and more.  

We hosted 33 MusicWorks professional development events with 620 participants, including the popular DIY Series. We also brought January Music Meeting back for its sophomore year and offered some unique co-writing opportunities through our summer songwriter retreat.

We brightened up the Resource Centre with a thwack of new plants, almost all of which are still alive!

Manitoba artists landed over 170 nods from international media, including top stories from Chic Gamine, Del Barber, Doc Walker, Federal Lights, Fred Penner, Greg Rekus, John Norman, JP Hoe, KEN mode, Leaf Rapids, Leonard Sumner, Matt Epp, Mobina Galore, The Noble Thiefs, Propaghandi, Rayannah, Red Moon Road, Romi Mayes, Royal Canoe, Ruth Moody, Sc Mira, Slow Leaves, The Bros. Landreth, The Wailin' Jennys, The Crooked Brothers, Living Hour, The Lytics, The Mariachi Ghost, The Revival, and The Small Glories.

We continued to expand our community partnerships, lending support to Winnipeg Folk Festival, TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, Big Fun Festival, Rainbow Trout Music Festival, The Uniter, Harvest Moon Festival, Ellice Street Festival, CUT Connex, Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, Winnipeg Film Group, MEME Festival, Interstellar Rodeo, and Synonym Art Consultation.

The Manitoba Music Rocks Charity Bonspiel, which we co-host with our friends at Manitoba Film & Music, raised $4,400 for the Kevin Walters Memorial Fund. 

Our Aboriginal Music Program kept things busy with the launch of the inaugural Market Builder Residency for Aboriginal Artists and Industry, Aboriginal Day Live Mentor Sessions in partnership with APTN, trade missions to Toronto’s Planet IndigenUs and the Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas, and the AMP Sessions video series.

Speaking of videos... the Loft Sessions returned this year with eight new offerings. Watch them all at

We launched Manitoba Fresh, a new partnership with 99.1 Fresh Radio that shines a spotlight on local music.

Our staff ate approximately 42 million bags of potato chips.

We offered three capacity-building programs for Manitoba’s industry, including the Music Industry Internship Program, Artist Management Internship Program, and Business Acceleration Consulting Program.

We continued our career development initiatives for the Western Canadian Francophone music industry via the new Francophone Music Program, including Rame à la rencontre de l’industrie de la musique francophone in Winnipeg during Festival du Voyageur and again in Montreal, and the second edition of Le camp de la musique francophone de l’Ouest canadien. continued to be a top destination for music fans, attracting over 160,000 users for the comprehensive live music listingsmusic newsstreaming playlistsfree downloads, and hundreds of artist and industry profiles, racking up over 760,000 pageviews.

We launched SoundCheck, our economic impact assessment. Don’t forget to count yourself in.

We would like to thank our amazing, innovative, creative, and talented members;  the generous support of the Government of Canada, Province of Manitoba, through the financial support of the Government of Canada and Canada's private radio broadcasters, the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities, Manitoba Film & Music, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Canada Council for the Arts, The SOCAN Foundation, Bell Media, Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations, BreakOut West, Sask Music, Alberta Music, Music BC, The Forks, APTN; our tireless staff; our dedicated Board of Directors; our generous volunteers;  and our many community and industry partners for another incredible, productive, and fun year.

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