SYDNEY — Nova Scotia Music Week will cross the causeway for the first time in its history later this week.
© Matt Dunlap photo
Gordie Sampson is hosting a songwriters circle during Nova Scotia Music Week in Sydney this weekend.
The annual four-day celebration of Nova Scotia's music industry will be hosted in Sydney, beginning Thursday and concluding Sunday night.
Scott Long, executive director of Music Nova Scotia, said that for a number of years Halifax served as homebase for the event, but since 2006 it has travelled around to other regions of the province.
"Once we left Halifax, we saw the event start to grow and come into its own and a bidding process came into play for communities interested in hosting the event so they'd have to read our bid document and meet the criteria and put forward a bid," he said. "The Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative folks, led by Jennifer Currie, took the lead on a bid for music week and they won the bid to host for 2013."
Long said the organization is excited to be coming to the island for its signature event which will feature more than 100 performances, a music business conference, international buyers program, two award shows and a highly-anticipated songwriters' circle hosted by Cape Breton's own Gordie Sampson.
"It's a celebration of Nova Scotian music, all the way around," said Long. "There is the festival component which is the showcasing that happens in the clubs at night and that for us is really fun and an exciting part of the event because it's all about music discovery. There's going to be a lot of artists coming to town that might have not played in Sydney before and there's some really great talent."
There's also a very real business side to the week, from the estimated $2.5 million economic impact for the host community, to the many opportunities that develop for musicians and industry professionals at the showcases and conference components of the event.
"We also have a very extensive international program. We have international music buyers coming from 10 different countries from around the world and this year there's a particular focus on the Nordic region so we have buyers coming from Iceland, and Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland," said Long. "We use this festival as an opportunity to showcase our artists to buyers from around the world."
Another highlight of the week will be the 46 music and industry awards, to be handed out Sunday at an awards brunch and an evening gala.
Long said the awards are a chance to recognize the best of Nova Scotia music from the past year and the evening gala will be a mix of award presentations — eight in total — and performances by Classified, Jenn Grant, Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac, Mo Kenney, Rhapsody Quintet, The Tom Fun Orchestra, Erin Costelo, The Stanfields, Dave Gunning and Kyle Mischiek.
Long encouraged local music fans to take in as many shows and events as possible throughout the four days as it's a great opportunity to discover Nova Scotia acts from a wide range of musical genres.
Ticket information for all events is available at nsmw.ca/tickets.php.
Festival wristbands — which give people access to all the showcases at the Holiday Inn, the Capri Cabaret, Steel City Sports Bar, Governors Pub & Eatery, Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, and Cape Breton Fudge Company — are on sale for $29.99. Each showcasing venue will have a $10 cover charge each night for individuals without wristbands.
Wristbands do not include access to the Songs & Stories songwriters' circle at Cape Breton University's Boardmore Playhouse, the music and industry awards brunch at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, or the NSLC gala awards show at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion. Tickets to those events are available separately — admission to Songs & Stories is $29.99, the awards brunch is also $29.99, and tickets to the gala awards show are $39.99.