Canadian Music Week just wrapped up its 34th year in Toronto, Ontario and proved itself to be an incredibly important experience for those involved in the industry, looking to make it, or simply just passionate about music. The annual event is split up into two components: the industry conference and the music festival. By day, professionals speak on a variety of topics at conventions throughout the Sheraton Centre while the nighttime hours’ boast performances by thousands of bands, from household names to the most underground and obscure.
Taking place at more than 60 live venues throughout downtown Toronto, you would figure that trying to take in as many shows as possible would prove to be a challenge. Racing from venue to venue until the wee hours of the morning is draining for anyone, let alone those who have to be up and engaging in intellectual discussion by 8:00AM. However, each venue is in reasonable distance from the other and makes it almost effortless to dip into as many shows as you wish. It was refreshing to be able to walk from the hotel to the first venue of the night with ease. Having an upper hand as a seasoned visitor of Ontario’s capital, I can only imagine how grateful first time visitors would be to find that they could navigate their shows with ease.
The abundance of both familiar and popular bands mixed with those that are just finding their place in the scene guarantees for interesting experiences at CMW. Thanks to the very enjoyable Dine Alone x Sirius XM showcase, held at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern, I was able to see two of my favourite bands live for the first time – Canada’s own Wintersleep and Nashville rockers Diarrhea Planet. Both bands dominated the stage and filled the room in their own ways, holding their captivated audiences in the palms of their hands. In any other world, there is no way I would get to see both of these bands on the same bill. But this isn’t your average week. This is CMW, where anything proves to be possible.
The Horseshoe proved to be one of the festivals most happening hubs throughout the week. Saturday afternoon boasted Sounds Australia’s Aussie BBQ, featuring memorable performances from seven of Australia’s finest acts, both up and coming and veterans of the scene. The stark contrast between artists made for an eclectic showcase that would have appealed to a variety of musical preferences. I was personally taken by Timberwolf, an indie/alt rock artist, and The Dead Love, a grunge/punk trio. Playing back to back, the two could not have resembled each other any less yet both managed to keep the audience enthralled. Their genuine gratitude and excitement to be playing across the world translated naturally into their performances, turning bystanders into fans with each note they hit.
While the return of the monotonous day-to-day routines feels like a slap in the face after the excitement of this week, my first Canadian Music Week served as a great source of inspiration and fuel to keep delving into the music industry. It’s impossible to not pick up on the enthusiasm and insight of those around you, and being surrounded by endless music definitely doesn’t hurt either. I feel hopeful and excited to see how this event will continue to progress throughout the years and am so grateful to have been a part of it. Until next year, CMW.
By Ava Muir
Photos by Ben Bush