A belated recap: My Canadian Music Week 2016

I was able to catch quite a lot of live music during the week, and I’m sure I could write about a lot more than I have here, but these truly were the performances that really touched me – or that I was able to stay for long enough to have been touched by them. I know it’s not the first time I’ve admitted that it’s a highlight of my life working for the festival, but it isn’t always awesome shows: I do actually get work done!

My favourites this year:

Lights at Danforth Music Hall

Lights at the Danforth Music Hall | Monday, May 2nd

At this point, I hadn’t been to a show in ages. Ages. I’ve been to small shows, and they have been lovely and intimate but there’s something about attending a show by someone who has been through it all, and has continued to hold on the thing that makes them magical.

It was an acoustic set for almost 1500 people, and you could feel the intimacy in the room all the way at the back of the balcony where I was seated. I am ashamed to admit I haven’t listened to any of her latest stuff but that didn’t stop me from enjoying her incredible talent.

What a delightful way to start my Canadian Music Week experience.

Royal Canoe at Mod Club Theatre

Royal Canoe at Mod Club Theatre | Wednesday, May 4th

I hadn’t planned on staying long, but the route I chose to check-in on my venues for the night made me quite late for my check-in at this venue. I’m so glad it did. I ended up being able to catch Royal Canoe‘s entire set, which was so much fun. I wasn’t that familiar with their music, but it was easy to enjoy.

Definitely a highlight of my week.

The People The Poet at Cameron House | Thursday, May 5th

I tried so hard to make it back to the area from the east end of the city to catch some friends, The Cat & The Queen, playing at The Hideout but I didn’t quite make it. So I thought I would check out The People The Poet at Cameron House. I discovered this band from Ireland while I was investigating international bands, and our potential transformer needs and had penciled in a few of their showcases in case I could catch them.

As a lover of Mumford and Sons, the Head in The Heart and of Monsters and Men, these guys were right up my alley. Would definitely go to see them again if they made their way back to Canada.

Demi Louise at Drake 150

Demi Louise at Drake 150 | Friday, May 6th

I wasn’t able to catch her whole set as i had to get started on my schedule of venue-checks for the evening, but I managed to stay for a couple of songs performed by this gentle-woman. I first met her last year when I advanced the shows at the same venue. She reminds me a lot of Rory from the GIlmore Girls, except that she actually has musical talent1. With a buttery voice, tunes that are funny and serious at the same time it’s hard not to swoon when she starts playing.

Very glad I was able to catch her set, ever-so-briefly.

Motel Raphael at Lee's Palace

Motel Raphaël at Lee’s Palace | Saturday, May 7th

Three years ago, my life was very different, and meeting and working with this band was one memorable experience. I was still Stage Managing. They were gracious, humble, and they rocked. I’m very happy to report that they still rock, and I can only assume they’re every bit as gracious and humble (I wasn’t able to stick around to stay hello – duty called).

I can only hope they keep coming back so I can continue to catch their live shows. So much love for these gals (and their band).

Who did you get to see at Canadian Music Week 2016?

Footnotes:
  1. where Rory did not[]

It’s All Happening: At The Garrison during Canadian Music Week

It’s finally here! Canadian Music Week used to happen in March but they’re changing things up and this year it’s taking place between May 6th to the 10th. As usual, I’ve signed up to be a Stage Manager for the Festival. It’s something that I look forward to every year, and I’m delighted to be celebrating my 5th year at the same venue where I met Garrett1.

Every year, I am super pumped to be working with all the bands that I get to work with and this year is no different. I always try to check out a Band’s sound the week before the festival so I know what kind of a night I am in for; it also helps me get a feel for the band and their members, and how I can relate to them. You should give these fine folk a listen, and you should definitely come by The Garrison this week and enjoy some quality entertainment.

 

Wednesday May 7th

M for Montreal, Wavelength & CMW Co-Present: “M” For…

$10 Cover or all wristbands accepted

DOORS OPEN @ 8:30PM

9PM

10PM

11PM

Moonwood

CMW14 Moonwood

Mannerisms

CMW14 Mannerisms

MaicaMia

CMW14 MaicaMia sq

Listen

Listen

Listen

12AM

1AM

Mas Aya

CMW14 Mas Aya

Mozart’s Sister

CMW14 Mozarts Sister

Listen

Listen

Watch

 

Thursday May 8th

Reeperbahn Festival & CMW Co-Present

$15 Cover or all wristbands accepted

DOORS OPEN @ 7:30PM

8PM

9PM

10PM

Saidah Baba Talibah

CMW14 Saidah Baba Talibah

No Sinner

CMW14 No Sinner

Thomas D’Arcy

CMW14 Thomas DArcy

Listen

Listen

Listen

Watch

xxxx

11PM

12AM

1AM

CATL

CMW14 CATL sq

The King Khan & BBQ Show

CMW14 The King Khan & BBQ Show

Green Rays

CMW14 Green Rays

Listen

Listen

Listen

Watch

 

Friday May 9th

Breton & CMW Co-Present

$15 Cover or all wristbands accepted

DOORS OPEN @ 8:00PM

8:30PM

9PM

10PM

Adi Ulmansky

CMW14 Adi Ulmansky sq

BESTiE

CMW14 BESTiE

Wolf Saga

CMW14 Wolf Saga

Listen

Listen

Listen

Watch

 

11PM

12AM

Step Rockets

CMW14 Step Rockets

Breton

CMW14 Breton sq

Listen

Listen

Watch

Watch

 

Saturday May 10th

HillyDilly.com’s CMW Showcase

$10 Cover or all wristbands accepted

DOORS OPEN @ 8:30PM

9PM

9:45PM

10:30PM

Hoodlem

CMW14 Hoodlem

Sons et. Al

CMW14 Sons et al.

!XX! (Sean Leon & Daniel Caesar)

CMW14 Sean Leon

CMW14 Daniel Caesar

Listen

Listen

Listen: Sean Leon

 

11:30PM

12:45AM

1:30AM

Waldo

CMW14 Waldo

BASECAMP

CMW14 BASECAMP

Nightizm

CMW14 Nightizm

Listen

Listen

Listen

What are you hoping to check out at CMW this year?

 

Footnotes:
  1. yeah, we all know that’s not his real name but that is and will always be his name on this blog[]

It’s All Happening: Lessons learned from Volunteering

Canadian Music Week 2010

By now1, I would be neck deep into my fifth year as a Stage Manager for Canadian Music Week – that is, if they hadn’t moved the festival to a warmer time of year2. As I yearn for the late nights, live music, and the perfect outlet for my need to organize-the-shit-out-of-everything I thought I’d list a few lessons I’ve learned about volunteering for festivals such as Canadian Music Week and North by North East.

CMW logo

NXNE2014-logo

The simple things
Becoming a volunteer is pretty easy. For both Canadian Music Week and North by North East, you can simply apply on their respective websites. There are a lot of different positions, and you can choose from volunteering for the conference or the festival but I’ve always been partial to volunteering for the festival. I feel like I get the most out of it because the main perk I’m seeking is to be able to enjoy some live music – full stop. I’ve had a lot of people question this, and I don’t know what to say other than sometimes I’m just that simple: all I want are the feels that good music brings.

Lesson 1: Pay attention?
There is going to be a lot of information thrown at you and all of it is going to be important. Some of it is only going to be important to keep at the top of your mind, and not for every day use but you should still know it. You should also pay attention to the subtle ways that the volunteer coordinator and their team like to do things; even if it’s not the way you usually like to do things – making them feel at ease about your competency to do the job will go a long way. And I don’t mean that you have to read their minds; it’s okay to ask questions – but be careful that you’re not asking questions that have already been covered in the material they gave you. So: pay attention 😉 and do your reading.

[As a stage manager or assistant stage manager] You also need to pay attention to the bands you’re dealing with, because the way they do things will vary as much as Toronto’s weather does. Some bands will prefer to do things via email and will have their own system for playing festivals down to a science, others may still need you to hold their hand3. The ability to pay attention to, and adhere to the subtle cues that people give you4, has been one of my favourite lessons learned from volunteering for these festivals. No matter what role you end up working, it’ll be good to pay attention to a lot of subtleties that will be everywhere.

Lesson 2: Things will go wrong
This is one that can be applied to life, but5 it’s so important to remember when working a music festival. With so many moving parts, it’s only a matter of time before something slips and/or falls into the cracks because life is beautifully imperfect like that. The most important thing I’ve taken away from this lesson is that the people who are in charge, whether that’s the volunteer coordinator or the festival coordinator or the programming coordinator, have given you guidelines for doing your job for a reason. You can deviate from their guidelines so long as the main objective is achieved, but if you miss the point and something horrible goes wrong – no one is going to be happy.

I’ve been pretty lucky, I haven’t had anything majorly bad happen while I was working as a stage manager6. I can only hope that with more experience, I can continue to avoid major catastrophes.

Lesson 3: Open your mind to new experiences
I usually ask to work every day of the festival, and even though I’ve been volunteering for so long I’m sure I could ask to work less so that I can take advantage of the free festival pass that I get and see some big name bands with my friends. I highly doubt I will be doing that though. You see, it’s just that I think it’s best to discover new music; listen to something you wouldn’t normally listen to when you go to a festival. I could be wrong, but I think that’s what these festivals were created for in the first place.

…which brings me to Lesson 4: Know your venue, and how to get there
When I volunteer, I don’t make requests about bands, nor venues to work with – to an extent. I do request to work venues that are closer to either my place of work or home so that I’m not too stressed trying to get to the venue on time. Stage Manager & Assistant Stage Manager shifts start as early as 5pm for some venues7, and if I have to trek across the city – I may not make it8.  With NXNE, it’s pretty easy – I just hop on my bike and I know exactly how long it’s going to take me to get there.

Anywho, that’s all I have for now. I’m sure there are a few more lessons I’ve learned, and I’ll be sure to add them to another post when they come to me. If there’s anything you want to ask me about, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. You can also send me questions via the contact form on my Author page.

Happy volunteering!

Footnotes:
  1. and by now, I mean two weeks ago, but my blog-host decided to be a cunt so this post is a little late. you can thank them.[]
  2. or so we hope[]
  3. for example, bands who are not from Canada[]
  4. whether they are aware of it or not[]
  5. we are not talking about life right now[]
  6. actually, I do have a story but it is not my story to tell so I will have to save it for a face to face conversation; i.e. ask me next time you see me[]
  7. depending on what time doors open[]
  8. On the TTC? It is more likely that I will not[]

I’m weird and wonderful, aren’t you?

We are all unique. There is only one of you1 but I’m sure there are a myriad of things that you’d have in common with many other people. At least I felt that way when I set out on the task of figuring out what makes me unique. Before it became too daunting of a task2, I reminded myself that life is supposed to be fun3.

What I came up with were three things that I absolutely love; things that I thought I maybe loved more than all the people4: Cycling, Sundresses and Music. I could only pick three or this would have been a much larger list but I’d like to think they sum me up quite well!

Crystal Light has made this summer easier and tastier by introducing their new line of Liquid Drink Mixes with fun names like Iced Tease Me, Strawberry Lemonbabe5, Blueberry Razz & Mango Passionate6. They come in an easy squeeze bottle and you can choose to either shake or stir once you’re done squeezing7. Each tiny bottle gets you about 24x 250ml drinks depending on how strong you like your drinks.

To celebrate these new flavours, they’re also celebrating all the things that make each of us unique. Whether it’s a quirky interest, an unusual hobby, or an activity you love – it’s wonderful, because it’s what makes you, you8! Make your drink as unique as you are with Crystal Light Canada; are your ready? Because we want to send an uber-awesome gift basket to one lucky person in the Greater Toronto Area containing some stuff that made me squeal9… such as:

  • 1x Basil Memories Bottle [Bike] Basket
  • 1x MEC Bicycle Frame Bag
  • 1x pair MEC Cycling Gloves
  • 1x MEC Universal Cycling Mini Bell
  • 1x MEC Turbo Turtle White LED Front Light
  • 1x $100 Shop Gift Card (valid at all Cadillac Fairview properties)
  • 1x $50 iTunes Gift Card
  • A year’s supply of tasty, tasty Crystal Light Liquid10

Crystal Light Liquid Gift Basket

To enter, just play along with the widget below. The more social media sexiness you perform, the higher your chances of winning11! I’ll be choosing a winner at random on Tuesday, July 23rd. That’s a whole week to get ‘er done!

Don’t want to enter the contest but want your own video? Go to the Crystal Light Facebook page, like the page and then tell them:

What makes you weird & wonderful?

Footnotes:
  1. unless you have figured out how to clone yourself, in which case – gimme![]
  2. for someone who hates to toot her own horn[]
  3. it really is that easy[]
  4. not really, I am just being hip and using that particular phrase that all the cool kids use because I am cool too[]
  5. giggle[]
  6. my absolute favourite flavour[]
  7. who doesn’t like a little squeeze every now and then?[]
  8. damn straight[]
  9. squee to be precise[]
  10. so freaking good[]
  11. I am sure you figured that out but humour me[]