Everyone from new performers to past award-winners agree the annual event has plenty to offer
Over the past week, awards have been given out, workshops have been delivered and showcases have been performed.
But what does Credit Union Music P.E.I. Week actually mean to the artists and industry people that take part in the event?
For some budding artists, the week is a launching point for their career, a way to learn valuable business skills, while introducing themselves to potential industry contacts. The week offers a chance for these artists to gain exposure and showcase their talents on an Islandwide scale.
For those with more experience under their belts, it is a celebration of achievements past and present. The week’s events are a way to reconnect with Industry counterparts, spark new relationships and launch new chapters in their artistic endeavours.
Today, this article will shed some light on what Credit Union Music P.E.I. Week has meant to some of our Island artists and Industry personnel.
Last Saturday night, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival Country Jubilee boot, scoot and boogied its way into Summerside. Hosted at the Harbourfront Theatre, the event saw a number of Islanders throw on their parkas and brave the horrible road conditions to see performances by some of the Island’s brightest country stars. In addition to some amazing performances by Meaghan Blanchard and Katie McGarry, to name a few, the event featured a number of award presentations, including the coveted Weekend Warrior Award, which was awarded to first-time MPEI winner Barry O’Brien.
A grateful O’Brien summed up his thoughts on the win, “It’s truly an honour to win a Music P.E.I. Award, especially an award voted on by the public. It’s very important to my family as well because they make many sacrifices to allow me to play music. This makes the recognition important and special. I believe being a Music P.E.I. award winner will add a new level of credibility to my career. I have already seen a difference on social media and I hope it continues.”
In addition to O’Brien’s win, industry veteran Tim Chaisson edged out some strong competition to take home the Spin Count Touring Artist of the Year Award.
“Music P.E.I. has grown into an amazing music conference that we should all be proud of. I was nominated the very first year with Kindle and since then it has provided so many opportunities for me and other Island artists — bringing us to the next level!” says Chaisson.
Rob Oakie, executive director of Music P.E.I., explains that the Credit Union Music P.E.I. Week is not only a public festival but also a conference that brings important music industry professionals to P.E.I. and offers Music P.E.I. members an opportunity to learn important information needed for building careers and a chance to meet with those people who can help build important connections.
“Winning or being nominated for awards also helps the important process of building a profile.”
Not only are the musicians taking home awards, but many people who help to grow and promote the Island’s music scene have also been recognized, including Lorne Miller, a photographer covering the P.E.I. music scene under the name of PixbyLorne.
“MPEI Week provides a great opportunity to show my work to the musicians that I support and I am honoured to be supported myself by the members of Music P.E.I., having received four nominations for visual artist of the year and having been awarded that honour three times. P.E.I. has a wealth of musical talent and while there is never a week without music this event provides an abundance of fantastic shows over the course of nine days.”
As Credit Union Music P.E.I. Week 2014 is coming to a close, there are still a few great shows to catch. Friday Night Live will be taking place in 13 venues across P.E.I. from Montague to Alberton. Some of the headliners include English Words, Richard Wood and Chas Guay. The week officially wraps up with the awards gala at the P.E.I. Convention Centre in Charlottetown on Saturday night with performances by Denis Ellsworth, Paper Lions, Ashley Condon and nine other nominees and hosted by Island funny man Patrick Ledwell.
Tian Wigmore is a singer/songwriter/guitarist based on P.E.I. This year he is also the conference co-ordinator for Credit Union Music P.E.I. Week 2014. His column, which wraps up today, has been appearing in The Guardian for four consecutive Fridays in January. He welcomes comments from readers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.