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ECMA excitement on P.E.I. for winners and presenters in Charlottetown

Guardian reporter Sally Cole, left, and singer-songwriter Rose Cousins, present Makayla Lynn with the Fans' Choice Video of the Year during the East Coast Music Awards Show in Charlottetown on Thursday, May 2, 2019.
Guardian reporter Sally Cole, left, and singer-songwriter Rose Cousins, present Makayla Lynn with the Fans' Choice Video of the Year during the East Coast Music Awards Show in Charlottetown on Thursday, May 2, 2019. - Nathan Rochford

Everyone has a favourite moment at each ECMA.

On Thursday night, I had my all-time favourite ECMA moment.

After attending and/or covering this annual music spectacle for more than two decades, I got to present my first ECMA awards.

I admit, I was a bit nervous as I sat with the hundreds of people in the audience during the East Coast Music Awards Show at the Delta Hotels by Marriott.

I was happy with how I looked (thanks to my co-workers downstairs at The Guardian for advising me to wear my red leather jacket).

Keep calm, I told myself. It’s just one moment on stage.

So, imagine my surprise when I arrived backstage prior to my moment in the ECMA spotlight and was given not one but two envelopes. Apparently, I would be presenting two awards – fans’ choice video of the year and fan’s choice entertainer of the year.


By the numbers

  • Over 700 people, including artists, sponsors, politicians and more, walked the red carpet at Thursday's Awards Show. The red carpet itself is 300 feet long.
  • 220 volunteers are taking part in the ECMAs. They’re helping out with everything from transport driving to handling event registration.
  • The ECMA brought in 173 delegates from across Canada, the United States, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France, Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom.
  • From the Awards Show to Radio ECMA to official ECMA showcases, over 500 musicians will perform at the ECMAs this week.

As I sat quietly waiting for my moment to walk on stage, I looked up and saw a smiling face.

It was my co-presenter, singer-songwriter Rose Cousins, who welcomed me and gave me a bit of a pep talk

"You'll be OK,” she said as we waited for our cue to go on, reassuring words from such a seasoned performer.

Onstage, while she did most of the talking, it was my job to open the envelopes and announce the winners – Makayla Lynn and The Barra MacNeils who took home fans' choice video of the year and fan’s choice entertainer of the year, respectively.

I don't know who was more excited – me or the winners.

I even got a hug from each of The Barra MacNeils – pretty special since I have been following them since 1996.

The show ended on another high note for me. Once I was settled back in my seat, the winner of the song of the year was announced – “Two Weeks” by The East Pointers.

The award came as a “surprise” to Tim Chaisson who, after a hectic touring schedule, was happy to be home to attend the ECMAs. After taking time to reflect on the win, he wrote this Friday on his Facebook page: “What an honour to win Song of The Year for ‘Two Weeks’ last night at the ECMAs. (We’re) so so grateful. It’s amazing to witness so much diversity, talent and community in Atlantic Canadian music - we’re fortunate!”

Members of Paper Lions accept the ECMA for Pop Recording of the Year during the East Coast Music Awards Show in Charlottetown on Thursday, May 2, 2019.
Members of Paper Lions accept the ECMA for Pop Recording of the Year during the East Coast Music Awards Show in Charlottetown on Thursday, May 2, 2019.

ECMA weekend events

The musical moments are all over the place Saturday beginning at the Delta Prince Edward hotel where official showcases start at 2:50 p.m. Some Islanders to watch at a variety of venues include Meaghan Blanchard, The Amanda Jackson Band, The Burning Hell, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Rachel Beck, Calm Baretta, Dennis Ellsworth, Vishten and the East Pointers. To find your favourites, grab one of those handy ECMA guide available at the Delta.

Radio ECMA continues its free programming at the Delta from noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The Old Triangle has been a hotbed of traditional music with what seems like non-stop ceilidhs. There’s also a special Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival fundraising ceilidh set for 3 p.m.  Saturday (Tim Chaisson and plenty of members of his musical family will be there). For a complete lineup, go to http://www.oldtrianglecharlottetown.com.

And music at Hunters Ale House continues Saturday as well, starting at 10 p.m. The lineup includes Fabulously Rich and the Wicked Deadlys. The venue is catching the excitement of the week and will be open 24 hours a day. For information, call 902-367-4040 or check the bar’s website.

Where will she sally forth on Saturday?

I’m looking forward to taking in “The Song and the Sorrow”, a documentary about P.E.I.’s Catherine MacLellan and her father, the late Gene MacLellan. Directed by P.E.I. filmmaker Millefiore Clarkes it will be shown at The Guild at 3 p.m. Admission is free.

It all wraps up Sunday evening with another award presentation.

Get out and enjoy yourselves and be sure to stop and say hello if you see me.


Sally Cole, an entertainment writer with The Guardian, is covering the 2019 ECMAs. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns. She may be reached at sally.cole@theguardian.pe.ca, twitter.com/sallyforth57or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.


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