Manitoba Music Year in Review

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William Prince wins the 2017 JUNO Award for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year

Well just like that it’s December and we’re capping off a busy 2017 with a little look back. It’s been a year filled with Manitoba talent making waves at home and abroad, on the stage, in the studio, and in the news.

Manitoba artists and music companies picked up 36 awards and 88 nominations for their work in 2017, including JUNO Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and more.

Local artists launched over 160 new music releases and hit the road for over 1,000 national and international tour dates.

Live music was in the spotlight at venues and festivals in Manitoba, with over 7,500 performances across the province this year.

We presented 11 Manitoba Music Export events in key markets across Canada, the U.S., and overseas, planting homegrown talent in new territories and building important career connections with the global industry. We were back at major international export events including South by Southwest in Austin, AmericanaFest in Nashville, Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, The Great Escape in Brighton, and Folk Alliance International in Kansas City. We took over Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern for our annual fall showcase, partnered once again with MPR’s The Current for the latest edition of Manitoba X Minnesota Music Exchange project, and made our first foray into the Colorado music market.

Some of Canada’s top music industry pros connected with local artists and music entrepreneurs for a three day intensive conference at the fourth edition of January Music Meeting, in conjunction with the Big Fun Festival.  

We teamed up with Big Fun to co-present a panel on safer spaces in the music community on the concepts behind, and importance of, safer spaces, and the challenges in creating and maintaining them, with a focus on gender, sexual orientation, and the experiences of Black people, Indigenous people, people of colour, and the people who exist at those intersections.

We ran 26 professional development events with over 450 participants in our MusicWorks series, and expanded to include three new streams of focus: Equalizer audio production workshops curated by artist/producer Joanne Pollock for women and non-binary artists; Manitoba Country Music Meeting in partnership with the Manitoba Country Music Association; and the Decipher hip hop professional development series, which grew out of a roundtable community discussion in early spring.

We officially renamed our Aboriginal Music Program to the Indigenous Music Development Program (IMDP) and relaunched the program’s website at We returned to Toronto for the Market Builder Residency for Indigenous Artists and Industry, went on trade missions to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, partnered with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network for the third edition of the Aboriginal Day Live Music Meeting, and launched the latest round of AMP Sessions live performance videos.

Our Francophone Music Development program continued to create new business development opportunities for the Francophone music scene across western Canada through Rame à la rencontre events at Festival du Voyageur and Montreal in partnership with Coup de Coeur Francophone festival in Montreal.  

We put 45 artists on stage at New Music Nights at The Good Will and Open Mic Nights at The Handsome Daughter with the Winnipeg Folk Festival and continued to connect with local audiences through MB Live partnerships, including new ones with the Soca Reggae Festival, Winnipeg Free Press (Sunday Brunch Collective), and the brand new Northern Touch Music Festival.

Thousands of people used our free MB Live app to find their music and over 176,000 users made their hub of all things Manitoba music, including comprehensive live music listingsmusic newsstreaming playlistsfree downloads, and hundreds of artist and industry profiles.

We worked with Manitoba Film & Music for the seventh annual Manitoba Music Rocks Charity Bonspiel, bringing over 120 curlers together on the ice and raising over $4,200 for the Kevin Walters Memorial Fund.

This year, we welcomed Elise Roller to the Manitoba Music team and said farewell to Anthony Augustine and David Landreth. We were also lucky to have some extremely smart folks spend time with us as interns and work placements, including Jennifer Doerksen, Niamh Dooley, Laurie Brand, and Sean Guezen.

We would like to thank our amazing, innovative, creative, and talented members; the generous support of the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, FACTOR through the financial support of the Government of Canada and Canada's private radio broadcasters, Manitoba Film & Music, The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Canada Council for the Arts, The SOCAN Foundation, Bell Media, The Winnipeg Arts Council;our partners at Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations, BreakOut West, Sask Music, Alberta Music, Music BC, The Forks, APTN; our indefatigable staff; our dedicated Board of Directors; our generous volunteers; and our many community and industry partners for another year of fantastic Manitoba music, growing, and pushing skyward.

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