The time we brought 100 European record producers and reporters to Canada for the junket of a lifetime
The Maple Music junket helped Canadian musicians break into the European market by bringing Europe to us
In the early 1970s, Canadian music had yet to break into the European market. We were making headway into the U.S. but in Europe, North American music was mostly lumped together as "American."
We really had to do something to catch these fellas and entertain them. We are downhill skiing with no poles!- Sonnie Bernardi, Crowbar
In 1972, a few music industry mavericks made a bold move. Music journalist Ritchie York and Arnold Gosewich (who was president of Capitol Records Canada) invited about 100 European record producers and reporters to Canada for an all-expenses-paid trip to experience the music scene in the great white north.
The Maple Music Junket would introduce international producers to an unforgettable lineup of Canadian talent, starting in Montreal and wrapping up in Toronto with back-to-back concerts at Massey Hall.
By the last concert of the junket, the visiting press and industry members were worn out from days of press conferences, studio visits and an epic 6-7 hour concert. So when Crowbar took the stage for the final performance at Massey Hall, they knew they had to go big.
Before they even started to play, they brought a naked woman onstage and opened bottles of champagne that they sprayed on the audience. "We really had to do something to catch these fellas and entertain them," says drummer Sonnie Bernardi, as he watches the old concert footage. "We are downhill skiing with no poles!"
Bernardi believes that their performance made a lasting impression and even helped the band get the slots and venues they did when they finally toured in Europe.
And it wasn't just Crowbar that benefited from the junket. It served to leave a lasting impression to help distinguish Canada's music from American music. As archival interview footage of one reporter shows, it helped him differentiate between Canadian and American music: "I thought Canadian music is the same like American music, but now I know the difference."