Philanthropy in Ottawa: Kinaxis supports struggling music industry with funding for virtual concert series

John Sicard
Kinaxis CEO John Sicard (File photo by Mark Holleron)
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Who: John Sicard, CEO, Kinaxis

The sponsorship: $250,000   

The recipient: Canadian Live Music Association  

The inspiration: “People matter here. Music matters here. We needed to demonstrate our commitment to the music industry as a whole including the people behind the scenes and the artists themselves.” – John Sicard, CEO, Kinaxis

Canada's live music community is singing the praises of local tech executive John Sicard.

The avid musician and CEO of supply chain management software firm Kinaxis is leading the Kanata company into a new partnership with the Canadian Live Music Association, a non-profit organization that promotes the economic, social and cultural benefits of live music.

Supported by a $250,000 sponsorship from Kinaxis, the new partnership is creating Kinaxis InConcert, a new performance series that will feature approximately 30 concerts live-streamed from stages across Canada. The money will help live music venues and concert promoters cover the costs of staging the virtual events.

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“Creating community – and hopefully sparking others to support the music industry – is the goal,” says Sicard, who was named the 2020 CEO of the Year by OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade. “This is the time for us at Kinaxis to create something special for venue operators and artists.”

The live music industry – which includes venue operators, suppliers, technicians and the performers themselves – has been decimated by the pandemic and restrictions on large in-person physical gatherings.

While some have experimented with live-streamed and online concerts, many have faced challenges finding new sources of revenue to cover the production costs.

This makes the support from companies such as Kinaxis so critical, says Erin Benjamin, the president and CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association.

“As a musician himself, John instantly gets it. He knows the importance of music. He knows why artists matter,” she says. “This is the type of corporate leadership that Canada and the world needs.”

Sicard started to play the drums in his early teens and calls music a “lifelong passion.” He recently started to learn how to produce music, something he describes as a “whole new skill,” especially with COVID-19 forcing musicians to record their tracks individually at home, rather than together as a group.

“(Music) is a wonderful hobby and I think everybody should have a passion like this outside of work,” Sicard says.