Your votes were counted, we had the 2020 Forest City London Music Award show planning well under way, and we faced a new challenge: the Covid virus. Like so many events, the award show and music week were put on hold. The vote results were put into the hands of our accountants for safekeeping until the pandemic wore itself out. Turns out Covid decided to stick around and we had to decide how to proceed.
Our solution: let’s go virtual! Forest City London Music Week starts on September 13 with the first of five virtual mini award galas and concludes on September 20.
As per tradition, the week kicks off on the 13th at 7p.m. with The Classical/Jazz/World awards hosted by award-winning classical and jazz singers Hilary Welsh and Sonja Gustafson, supported by the Mark Swan Quartet. Award presenters include local celebs, including Denise Pelley, Marque Smith, and Angela Park, as well Dr. Chris Mackie, Middlesex-London Health Unit’s medical officer.
Together they promise an evening of great music while recognizing the year’s best local classical, jazz and world performers. The evening will wrap up with a special performance by presenter Marque Smith, our hosts, and the house band. At 8:30p.m. following the awards, the music continues with a Classical/Jazz/World showcase featuring the Mark Swan Jazz Quartet, Hilary and Sonja.
The award presentations continue September 17 with the first of four nights of mini galas in the pop/rock/country et. al. categories. Hosted by London comedian and host of CBC Radio One’s The Debaters, Steve Patterson, the galas kick off at 7p.m. each night. Celebrity presenters including Bif Naked, Hawksley Workman, Nick Dika, and Danny Miles, help hand out awards from 20 categories. Plug in nightly to celebrate London’s vibrant musical landscape and the winners of 2020.
On September 15, a program to honour this year’s Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement recipients will be streamed starting at 7p.m. Learn more about London musical icons: Grant Smith – the powerhouse R&B singer, The Niosi Brothers – Canada’s Kings of Swing, Martin Boundy – versatile conductor and performer and Terry McManus- teacher, producer, and performer.
The evening will also include the premiere of the first installment of the “Hits from the Hall” series, videos produced in cooperation with the Heritage Council. The first video is an overview of the London Music Hall of Fame with four additional episodes on inductees coming in November.
Forest City London Music Week will not only include the galas, but as always will feature Soundcheck4Success, our Annual Professional Development & Music Career Day(s). We kick off on the 13th at 4p.m. with “Success in the Canadian Music Industry – Breaking the Glass Ceiling” a panel on the challenges faced by Black musicians led by Sum-01 and including panelists Wes Williams and Haviah Mighty. On the 14th at 4p.m. we are presenting “Granting Your Way to Success” which highlights ways to generate funds to allow you to deliver on your musical projects. Professionals from granting bodies including the London Arts Council, Ontario Creates and Ontario Arts Council Music Program are on the panel.
On September 16 at 7p.m. the panel session, “Make the Media Want You” will explore how to be a strategic player in the music industry by using creative pitches of influence and social media traction.
The 17th is reserved for our Keynote Speaker — acclaimed U.S. producer and engineer Ken Caillat, who has worked with such stars as Billy Idol, Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Alice Cooper and his daughter Colbie Caillat. Ken is also a Grammy Winner for his work on Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, one of the fastest-selling LPs of all time. Log in at 8p.m.and spend some time with the man behind the production console and hear the inside stories and studio outtakes.
Saturday the 19th two panels focus on producers. Scott Bollert moderates the first panel, starting at 1p.m. with producers sharing the challenges and rewards of their job. This is followed at 3p.m. by a seminar style panel called “Producing in Pandemic,” hosted by uber producer Darius Szczepaniak. Noted producers will discuss the drastic effect Covid has had on the music industry and how isolation and social distancing have forced artists to think of new ways to gather, collaborate, record, and share their art.
Finally, On September 20 at 1p.m, Summer Bressette will moderate “Indigenous Music is not Niche.” In his 2019 Juno acceptance Jeremy Dutcher, speaking to fellow Indigenous nominees, commented, “All of your work… deserves to be considered outside of this category. Because our music is not niche. Our music is saying something.”
Summer and a panel of local Indigenous artists will continue this discussion and highlight the diversity of Indigenous music.