This year’s Canadian Music Week conference and expo has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scheduled to happen May 19 to 23 at a variety of venues in downtown Toronto, the annual event is now planned for Sept. 8 to 13.
The full CMW line-up of performers had yet to be announced. The few artists that had been revealed included Corb Lund and Russian punk provocateurs Pussy Riot, who already called off their North American tour. Highlights for CMW, a major event on the music industry calendar, included a keynote conversation with American producer Timbaland and the awarding of the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award to Buffy Sainte-Marie. The artist-activist was set to be honoured at the annual Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards Gala, at Bluma Appel Theatre on May 21. She was also to give a an onstage interview at the conference hub at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre.
The postponement is the latest disruption in a Canadian music industry already rocked by the last-minute cancellation of this year’s Juno Awards in Saskatoon. The SOCAN Awards, an annual event that celebrates achievements in songwriting, composing and music publishing, will no longer take place on March 30 in Toronto. The Canadian Folk Music Awards, set for early April in Charlottetown, is off.
Internationally, a task force of music promoters including industry leaders AEG and Live Nation collectively recommend large scale events through the end of March be postponed. Artists suspending tours include Pearl Jam, Cher and Kiss, along with Canadians Sarah Harmer, Caribou and the Glorious Sons.
Record Store Day, a Christmas-like event for the music nerds, has been moved to June 20 from April 18. The 55th-annual Academy of Country Music Awards, set for April 5 in Las Vegas, is postponed until September. The Rock Hall of Fame, slated to induct its 2020 class of Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and others on May 2 in Cleveland, has postponed its ceremony to an undetermined later date. Major spring festivals South by Southwest and Coachella were cancelled and postponed, respectively.
As for Canadian Music Week, its panel discussions, numerous seminars with industry movers and shakers and a summit on the live touring industry will wait until September. Given the current calamity in the business, there will be much to talk about.
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