CHARLOTTETOWN - While P.E.I. was all but shut out of the awards presented Sunday night during the 2014 Eastlink East Coast Music Awards gala, the city was the big winner.
The Cradle of Confederation received hundreds of delegates as well as visitors from across Canada, the U.S. and beyond who attended the various music stages, dined in P.E.I. restaurants and stayed in P.E.I. accommodations during the festival/trade show.
In turn, the artists enjoyed Island hospitality.
“I think Charlottetown has done a really, really fantastic job of hosting the ECMAs. Everyone is so friendly here. I even had people come up and offer to pay my parking mete. After living in large cities it’s something I really appreciate,” says Cape Breton’s Mary Jane Lamond who, with Wendy MacIsaac, picked up group recording of the year award.
Singer-songwriter Dave Gunning agrees.
“I have many ECMA memories here. And Charlottetown is so well laid out, it’s easy to get around,” says Gunning, recipient of songwriter of the year award for These Hands.
Besides enjoying the economic benefits the city enjoyed a concert of all concerts Sunday night.
For those who attended it was a night to remember.
It began with a parade of performers and ECMA sponsors, dressed in their finest walking the red carpet inside the Delta Prince Edward as a crowd cheered them on.
It continued inside the ballroom with dazzling performances by some of the region’s top musicians.
And by the time the 2014 Eastlink ECMA gala award show was over, 10 awards had been given out.
P.E.I. artists received two awards.
The first was presented to The Chaisson Trio. Known for band members tireless volunteer efforts at benefits, concerts, funerals as well as at the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival, band members received the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award.
The band consists of brothers Kevin and Peter Chaisson and the late Lemmie Chaisson, who died a year ago.
Tim Chaisson, speaking on behalf of the trio, said: “It’s a pretty cool honour. It means a lot to Kevin, my dad, Uncle Peter and Lem’s wife, Judy Chaisson, as well as all the people of eastern P.E.I.”
The second award was presented to Jenn Grant, who grew up in Charlottetown, but calls Nova Scotia home.
She says it was a thrill to win songwriter of the year in her hometown.
Hosted by Seamus O’Regan, the former co-host of Canada AM, the show featured performances by Amelia Curran, Ashley Condon, Dave Gunning, David Myles, Jimmy Rankin, Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, Meaghan Blanchard, Mo Kenney, Old Man Luedecke, Paper Lions, Tonya Kennedy, The Motorleague and The Town Heroes.
The winners are:
Album of the year: Tender is the Night by Old Man Luedecke
Group recording of the year: Seinn by Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac.
Solo recording of the year: No More Pennies by Dave Gunning.
Song of the year: I’ve Got Your Fire by Jenn Grant, produced by Daniel Ledwell.
Songwriter of the year: These Hands by Dave Gunning.
P.E.I 2014 Fan’s Choice entertainer of the year: The Barra MacNeils
P.E.I. 2014 Fan’s Choice video of the year: New York City by The Town Heroes.
Directors’ special achievement award: the late Rita MacNeil.
Dr. Helen Creighton lifetime achievement award: Chaisson Trio.
Musician’s achievement award: Jay Smith
For the full list of nominees and winners, click here.