Manitoba Music Year in Review

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Warming at BreakOut West (Photo: J.Senft Photography)

As we get ready to say goodbye to 2018, we're taking a little look back at a year full of exciting projects, new initiatives, packed events at home and abroad, and most importantly — outstanding local music.

Manitoba artists and music companies picked up 45 awards and 222 nominations for their work in 2018, including JUNO Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, Indigenous Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and more.

Local artists launched over 190 new music releases—including albums, EPs, and singles—and hit the road for tour dates across Canada and on stages in the US, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Japan, and beyond.

Live music was in the spotlight at venues and festivals in Manitoba, with over 7,000 performances across the province this year.

We presented Manitoba Music Export events in key markets across Canada, the US, 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 also took over Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern for our annual fall showcase.

Through our western Canadian partnerships we supported additional international market development events with BreakOut West at Australian Music Week in Cronulla, Tallinn Music Week, Focus Wales in Wrexham, and New Skool Rules in Rotterdam.

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

We teamed up with Big Fun to co-present a facilitated discussion on mental health in music about significant health and wellness challenges faced by the music community, and to listen to priorities and needs, work towards de-stigmatizing mental health in our scene, and offer some info on available resources and tools. We also continued health and wellness discussions with other workshops throughout the year.

We launched PASSPORT: Music Export Summit, a new training initiative for Canada’s music industry. Produced by Manitoba Music in partnership with Music Nova Scotia, Canada’s Music Incubator, and the National Music Centre, PASSPORT delivered intensive training sessions to prepare export-ready Canadian artists and music entrepreneurs with business skills and product development to help bring Canadian music to the world. PASSPORT ran parallel summits in Winnipeg and Halifax, a masterclass in Calgary, and streams for Indigenous and Francophone artists and managers.

We ran 28 professional development events with over 460 participants in our MusicWorks series, and continuing our flagship DIY Series, plus 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.

Through the Indigenous Music Development Program (IMDP) we hit the Mondo.NYC festival in New York, partnered with Canada Council for the Arts for the ninth edition of Indigenous Music Residency, went on a trade mission to Las Vegas, and produced the new Talking Stick series of 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 grew creative connections through the fourth edition of our summer songwriter retreat, with the help of a Bell Media national songwriting initiative, bringing together emerging artists for a week-long intensive of co-writing opportunities and creative mentorship.

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 Black Space Winnipeg and the sākihiwē festival.

Live local music was on the menu for Snack Sessions, our new music video series. Streamed via Facebook Live, the pilot project featured buzz-worthy emerging Manitoba acts playing some delicious tunes from the Manitoba Music environment.

Thousands of people used our free MB Live app to find their music and over 179,000 users made their hub of all things Manitoba music, including comprehensive live music listings, music news, streaming playlists, free downloads, and hundreds of artist and industry profiles.

We worked with Manitoba Film & Music for the eight annual Manitoba Music Rocks Charity Bonspiel, bringing over 120 curlers together on the ice and raising over $6,000 for the Kevin Walters Memorial Fund.

Our staff undertook training around accessibility and we worked with an advisory committee to develop an Accessible Customer Service Standards Policy.

This year, we welcomed Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais and Jacques Richer to the Manitoba Music team and said farewell to longtime team members Alan Greyeyes and Joel Couture. Former intern Jennifer Doerksen joined the team to help out during some extraordinarily busy times. We were also lucky to have some extremely smart folks spend time with us as summer students and work placements, including Graeme Houssin and Ashley Bieniarz.

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; our unfaltering 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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