Juno fever fired up in Winnipeg on Tuesday as the host committee unveiled the events that will take place leading up to and during the awards week at the end of March.
"There are some great ticketed events as well as free public events and performances taking place all around Winnipeg,” said Kenny Boyce, one of the committee co-chairs, along with Carole Vivier.
Canada's music awards, newly-named as The Junos, were presented for the first time on Feb. 23, 1970. Winnipeg’s own The Guess Who won for best group that year.
The awards had existed since 1964 under the name the RPM Gold Leaf Awards, which were established by Walt Grealis, editor and publisher of RPM magazine. They became known as the Junos in 1970. From the awards' inception until 1975, winners were selected by readers of RPM. Thereafter, only members of the newly-formed Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences participated in the voting.
The Junos are named in honour of Pierre Juneau, the first president of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission and former head of the CBC.
The Juno Awards were not conducted outside Toronto until 1991. Since then, the ceremonies have been held in locations throughout Canada, reaching both coasts, although New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec have yet to play host.
The Junos were last held in Winnipeg in April 2005, hosted by comedian Brent Butt.
“We have planned free public events that include performances at The Forks and the airport, as well as Random Acts of Juno that will be springing up around downtown until the end of March," said Vivier.
"We will also be engaging with some Winnipeg schools for an All Strings Considered performance at the West End Cultural Centre."
Boyce and Vivier made the announcement at a news conference at the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, which will serve as Manitoba House during the Juno celebration.
A Juno kick-off party will be held March 27 at Manitoba House with performances by The Trews, The New Meanies and Attica Riots.
A number of events will take place there and at other locations around the city during the Juno week.
Country singers Brett Kissel, Dean Brody, and Gord Bamford were named Tuesday as additional performers for the awards night.
They join previously announced performers Matt Mays, Robin Thicke, Serena Ryder, The Sheepdogs, Tegan and Sara, and Walk Off The Earth.
It was also announced Tuesday that Canadian singer and eight-time Juno winner Sarah McLachlan will take the stage as a special presenter for MusiCounts, speaking about the work done by the charity to put instruments into the hands of children and award scholarships to music students.
The Olympic women's curling gold medallists from Winnipeg, Team Jennifer Jones, will also be special presenters at the awards night.
Jones said it's a big honour for them because they're all huge music fans.
"When we got the invitation to come and present at the Junos, I just got goosebumps even talking about it," she said.
"We're in Winnipeg, we're in our city and the Junos is so huge and we're huge music fans and we're going to be presenting on stage. It's an incredible honour for us and we can't wait."
Meanwhile, another Winnipeg native, Randy Bachman, will host the popular Songwriters' Circle, which features Canadian songwriters sharing their songs and the stories behind them.
The 11-time Juno Award winner and a founding member of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, will take the stage for the event on March 30 at the Burton Cummings Theatre.
Event expected to be boon for local bars
“The cultural, artistic … warmth of our community will be on full display for the whole country,” said Premier Greg Selinger. “It’s going to make a big difference.”
King’s Head Pub owner Jay Khanuja expects to see that difference in his bottom line.
“Basically, the magnitude of it is having three or four Fridays in a row,” said Khanuja. “It’s just going to do nothing but grow the live music scene again.”
Khanuja said recent changes to liquor laws, which allow for smaller venues to host live music, will also help.
The full roster of events can be found on the Juno Awards website.
There is still no word on who will host of the 2014 awards.