If you're interested in chasing a career as a musician, you'll want to spend this week in Toronto.
Canadian Music Week kicks off this Tuesday, taking place all over downtown Toronto with a variety of musical performances and conferences. About 1,000 bands will be performing across 60 locations from March 19 to 24, including big names like Metric and Heart, as well as plenty of Hamilton-based bands.
Two of those Hamilton bands, Gdansk and Of Gentlemen And Cowards, are making their festival debut. Tim Mann, singer and guitarist for the alternative band Gdansk, said the festival is crucial to getting the band's name out there and expanding their fan base.
“A lot of times, indie musicians or local musicians have a hard time differentiating themselves from everybody else who's trying to do the same thing,” said Mann.
“So these festivals bring a lot of people together and there's … a spirit of discovery, kind of, where people want to hear new music.”
Simon Edwards, lead vocalist and guitarist for Of Gentlemen And Cowards, attended the festival last year and said he's really excited to be performing this year.
“We've made a really big effort to connect with a lot of other up and coming bands from around the Hamilton and Toronto area,” said Edwards. “I think part of that is mutual support for each other and each other's live shows.”
Live How You Live is another Hamilton band playing during the festival, although they are no strangers to the event. According to the band's bassist John Morley, they have performed during Canadian Music Week for the past three years. Morley said new musicians should definitely attend the event, even if they are not actually performing.
“Even though you're not playing, there's still so much to learn by just going and looking at a lot of the different conferences,” said Morley.
He pointed out that newcomers to the music scene can attend conferences to learn how to become better performers and added Canadian Music Week is where it all started for him.
“There's lots of different speakers and conference panelists that fly in from all over the place,” said Morley. “So not only is there the showcase, but it's a chance for people to set up meetings and do business.”
Last summer, Of Gentlemen And Cowards won a competition to perform live on the Late Show With David Letterman, and Live How You Live was one of the five Hamilton finalists in CBC Music's Searchlight competition.
People who are interested in attending the events can purchase an all-access wristband for $60 from canadianmusicfest.com. Here's a full list of the 17 Hamilton-based bands performing in Canadian Music Week.
Lee Harvey Osmond
Live How You Live
Of Gentlemen And Cowards
The Dirty Nil
Weekend Riot Club