Campbell Webster

Campbell Webster says promoting venues is one of the goals of the East Coast Music Association. (CBC)

Fans looking to see showcase artists at the East Coast Music Association awards week in Charlottetown in April will have to do it at an official ECMA event.

The ECMA has added a radius clause to its contract with musicians. That means that they will not be able to play at unsanctioned events.

The exclusive contract is designed to boost ticket sales for the association.

"The reason that this event exists is to serve those artists, to put them on curated and well-produced stages that give them the best opportunity to show their work that we can provide," said Andria Wilson, interim ECMA executive director.

Independent promoter Campbell Webster said it goes against the spirit of the association to stop musicians from playing other shows.

"This idea of creating a radius clause comes out of a desire to protect ticket sales for their own showcases, that part we understand," said Webster.

"But the ECMA has another objective also. And the other objective is to foster, promote, and protect or develop east coast music industry, which includes venues, and artists."

A radius clause is standard for most music festivals, but this is the first year the ECMAs has included one.

Nathan Gill, front man for the Charlottetown band The North Lakes and ECMA veteran, said part of the charm of the ECMAs is the opportunity to see a big name artist playing at breakfast in a hotel restaurant or jumping on stage for few songs at a local bar.

Nathan Gill

Part of the charm of ECMA week is playing in, and seeing musicians in, a lot of different venues, says North Lakes front man Nathan Gill. (CBC)

"In the spirit of the event, it's usually kind of fun to have that array of shows. You know, you're playing seven shows to as many people as you can," said Gill.

"If it does affect one of those marquee artist's decisions to play some of those smaller shows that would be disappointing."

ECMA music week will run in Charlottetown April 2-6.

For mobile device users: Are exclusive showcase rights to artists for ECMA awards week a good idea?