Juno Awards poised to ‘take over’ Ottawa

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The week-long celebration of Canadian music that’s scheduled to kick off in Ottawa in late March is expected to pump more than $10 million into the local economy, according to the head of the Juno Awards.

 “Music isn’t just about entertainment. It’s also about business,” said Allan Reid, the president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which promotes the country’s artists and music through initiatives such as the Junos.

“The awards and its numerous activities enrich the cities we visit every single year through increased economic activity.”

Mr. Reid, who broke into the music business by mowing the lawn outside a radio station in his hometown of Kelowna, B.C., and later signed artists such as Jann Arden, Sam Roberts and Hedley while at Universal Music Canada, made his remarks during a presentation to the local business community Wednesday morning at Ottawa City Hall.

He described the history of the Junos, which is entering its 46th year and “began as a one-night, insider affair” before changing into several days of celebrations involving a wider community.

This year marks the third time the awards will be held in Ottawa. More than a half-dozen events are planned between March 27 and April 2, including a celebrity hockey tournamentphoto exhibition and the Junior Junos at Kidsfest featuring a live musical concert that includes nominees for Children’s Album of the Year.

“We’re going to take over the city,” Mr. Reid said.

These events will generate business for the city’s hospitality sector as well as for the firms supplying equipment and the individuals staffing the events, Mr. Reid pointed out.

More broadly, he asked the audience to think about the economic benefits such as job creation, economic growth and tourism that accrue to “music cities.” As one example, he said a thriving music scene can attract talented young workers who value a high quality of life.

His comments echo a 2015 report that called on the city to make music an economic development priority.

This year, the Ottawa 2017 JUNO Host Committee and the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition are providing $30,000 in micro-grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 to musicians, promoters and other music organizers and entrepreneurs to develop and present unique musical experiences across the city.

Mr. Reid was the keynote speaker at the Mayor’s Breakfast Series, a joint venture between Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.