Canadian Music Week, taking place April 18-23 in Toronto, will feature its most robust lineup yet of conference programming focused on the live music business and, for only the second time in CMW's 36-year history, an awards show honoring achievements in the concert industry.
"The live business has been growing and, obviously, the record business has shrunk and changed, so we had to react," says Neill Dixon, founder of Canadian Music Week, which is held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, with performances around the city.
CMW helped create Canada's National Live Music Association in 2014. "One of the things that made sense for them, as a [trade] association, was to get involved with an awards show," says Dixon, "so they've been with us since day one."
The awards show will close the first day of CMW's Live Music Summit (April 19-20). Hosted by Canadian native Paul Shaffer, longtime musical director for David Letterman, and sponsored by Toronto nightclub El Mocambo, the awards will be presented to festivals, venues, booking agents, managers, talent buyers and more. The Tragically Hip will receive a Legends of Live award, recognizing the band's final tour in 2016.
Other highlights of the agenda of the Live Music Summit:
-- More than 30 representatives of music festivals from four continents, including the Montreal Jazz Festival and Canada's famed Winnipeg Folk Festival, will convene for a two-hour networking and information session. In a separate session, artist manager Jake Gold will lead a discussion titled "The Festival Market at a Crossroads." Laurie Kirby, co-president of Fest Forums, will host a third session billed as "How to Get Booked at a Festival Even If Nobody Knows Who You Are."
-- Chris Ibey, president/CEO of Ottawa-based TOERSA Security, will lead a discussion of the heightened concern with concert security, particularly following the attacks at the Bataclan theater in Paris in 2015. Drawing its title from an 1984 hit by Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn, the panel is billed as "Music Lovers in a Dangerous Time."
-- Live Nation Canada director of marketing Melissa Bubb-Clarke will host a panel discussion on the pros and cons of brands in the music space and also will present a case study of a music partnership with LoyaltyOne and the Air Miles Canada rewards program. Additional branding sessions will be led by Nick Terzo, vp operations and business development for Madison House, and by Matthew Yazge, head of brand sponsorship for Nielsen Music.
-- A keynote Q&A will feature Natalie Nastaskin, head of U.S. music operations for United Talent Agency, interviewed by veteran Canadian music industry journalist Larry LeBlanc. Nastaskin, who was recognized in Billboard's Women in Music and Power 100 lists, played a key role in UTA integrating The Agency Group, which boosted the music-industry clout of the combined companies.
-- A second keynote Q&A will feature agent-promoter John Giddings of the Solo Agency talking with Ralph Simon, CEO/founder of Mobilium Global Limited. Giddings, whose clients have included The Rolling Stones, U2 and Madonna, revived England's Isle of Wight Music Festival in 2002. In March, Live Nation took a controlling interest in the festival, retaining Giddings to run the event.
This article originally appeared in the April 15 issue of Billboard.