Festival Offers Industry Conference and Showcases, June 30 and July 1 in Winnipeg
Winnipeggers have a new music festival to add to their busy summer schedules this year. The inaugural Northern Touch Music Festival is gearing up to present hip hop, R&B, and soul on city stages and help the local music community build important career connections in the process.
Kicking off its two-day run on June 30, the festival includes a sold-out industry conference in partnership with Manitoba Music at its downtown Winnipeg office and resource centre. Presented with the support of FACTOR, the event features panel discussions on music business fundamentals, quick “touchpoint” discussions, a demo listening session, and networking opportunities. Find the schedule at manitobamusic.com/workshops at northerntouchmusicfestival.ca
Speakers making their way from Toronto and beyond include Black & Orange Management presence and Still Movin co-founder Damien "Dame" Ritter; multi-genre rapper/singer/producer/DJ Haviah Mighty; Coalition Music’s social media strategist Vanessa Cito, Atlantic Records recording artist Forest Blakk, and R&B singer, actor, and symphony cellist Tessa. Manitoba-based artists and industry will share their considerable expertise on panels during the conference, including 204 The Vibe’s Morgan "MJ" James; manager/promoter Anthony Carvalho; Precursor Productions producer Andrew Yankiwski, Indigenous Music Award-winning artist Hellnback; artist/promoter Lisa Muswagon; Black Space Winnipeg founder, host of Raw Colours on CKUW 95.9FM, and local vocal percussionist Alexa Potashnik aka MC Woke; bassist, composer, arranger, and educator Ashley Au, Manitoba Music’s Indigenous music development manager Alan Greyeyes, and Manitoba Film & Music’s manager of music programs Stephen Carroll.
Over 20 local artists will have a chance to get on stage in front of conference speakers at two nighttime showcases, which also feature headliners Haviah Mighty and Tessa. Showcasing acts include Chris Bxnnxtt, Cypha Diaz, Jessica Bro Z, Katrina Van Humbeck, Mal Magorel, Malcolm-Jay, Matt Redd, SlySkeeta, and more at Le Garage on June 30 and The Park Theatre on July 1. Get the showcase schedule
The festival was founded by producer/rapper/singer Shea Malcolmson and event planner/artist/actor Kevin Ramberran, and now writer and communications pro David Koroma, after Manitoba Music’s hip hop roundtable discussion on April 1. Attended by over 40 local artists and entrepreneurs, the roundtable aimed to open dialogue on the successes and challenges for the local hip hop community. Malcolmson, Ramberran, and Koroma, along with others volunteering their time to make Northern Touch a reality, hope to help connect and grow the local industry.
The festival’s name pays homage to a song by Canadian hip hop outfit Rascalz, whose actions helped to get the JUNO Awards’ Best Rap Recording onto television screens in 1999, helping to pave the way for hip hop in Canada.