LONDON HOSTS THE JUNO AWARDS
this weekend was an important foreshadowing of a potential new identity as a city with a burgeoning artful soul
It’s difficult to accurately describe the energy of London from March 15 to 17 2019. Months of anticipation for the JUNO Awards had finally ripened into a tangible buzz around the city. The excitement reverberated further than just Budweiser Gardens, with celebrations of some variety taking place in nearly every corner of the city. We watched as Canada celebrated a range of musical talents and genres, hosted by Canadian legend Sarah Mclachlan. There was an electricity moving through the city that the grey skies and rainfall couldn’t wash out. During JUNOfest, more than 100 artists performed in 17 venues across London, such as The Aeolian Hall, London Music Hall, Toboggan Brewery and The Richmond Hotel. Performers ranged from local sweethearts like Yessica Woahneil, Thesis Sahib, Saveria, Heart Attack Kids, and Whoop SZO to Canadian icons like Jim Cuddy, Tokyo Police Club, and The Trews.
This weekend had everything: a Merry Makers Block Party in Covent Garden Market Square, the very first Print Pop at DNA, Fanshawe’s Live street festival on Dundas Place, to the Girl’s Rock Camp Live performance at TAP Performing Arts Centre (bolstered by a generous $25 000 JUNO’s grant), as well as the countless official JUNOfest shows (as well as some unofficial house shows and a few at Call the Office). It was a point of pride for many patrons to be able to find venues hosting local performances suited to their varying sonic interests.
For an ever-evolving city like London, this weekend was an important foreshadowing of a potential new identity as a city with a burgeoning artful soul in more ways than one. London gained a formal distinction for its record-high donation of $130,000 (via the London JUNO Host Committee) to MusiCounts — a charity which supports several programs that deliver music education in Canada.
Now that the dust has settled and the crews have all loaded out, it’s a prime time to reflect on how well London came together and how we can keep that liveliness going not just for one weekend but all year long. Hopefully, the JUNO’s weekend was merely a catalyst to showcase what London has to offer when we make space and show up for one another.