If you have a limited amount of time to catch shows during ECMA 2011, one event you should not miss is the RBC Discovery Stage.
It kicks off this afternoon at the Murphy Community Centre in Charlottetown.
"We're all set, ready to go. We've got 72 acts lined up over the next five days," says Paul Alan, who is working with "a great committee and 50 volunteers" to fill the talent and MC slots.
"That's 35 hours of music in every genre that you can think of — adult contemporary, pop, blues, folk rock, alternative, Celtic, bluegrass, soul reggae, gospel and urban. And the best part, it's free.
"It's a huge undertaking ... But we're really happy to line up Murphy's Community Centre as the new venue this year. We have room for 600 visitors so there's lots of room at this free event."
Ten Strings and Goat Skin is officially kicking off the show at 5 p.m. And they're super-pumped about it.
"It's a great opportunity for all of us. It's a chance to get our music out there and to meet other artists is one that we would never turn down," says Rowen Gallant, a member of the band that includes Jesse Periard and Caleb Gallant.
The showcase, which replaces the popular 72-hour jam, is the event's longest-running stage — four days — where new and up-and-coming artists have a chance to show their stuff in front of an attentive audience and sell their music.
"Being at the right place at the right time, that's what the Discovery Stage can do for an act. Some of the acts that have performed in the past have included Meaghan Blanchard, who is up for ECMA country artist of the year; the Irish Descendents, the Ennis Sisters, Chuck and Albert, Vishten and Racoon Bandit. These acts have all started on the Discovery Stage and look at where they are now," says Alan, host of Magic 93's morning show.
Junkmale, a Summerside band, is excited about the potential opportunities.
"We have been performing as a cover band for a number of years but we have always wanted to do our own music. So, not only is this our first ECMA showcase, it's our very first original showcase ever. So we're excited that it's being held in Charlottetown," says Karen Penton, lead vocalist for the group that will perform at midnight that includes Mike Penton, Ron Penton and Dennis Gallant.
Hours for The Discovery Stage are as follows: Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.