Mail-in surveys, torn from a magazine, were how the who’s who of Canadian music were decided back in the day. When RPM Magazine first launched in 1964, they regularly featured song and album charts for the Canadian music industry. They were such a hit that, at the end of the year, they asked readers to vote for their favourites.
Winners of these first RPM Awards included The Esquires, Terry Black, and Wes Dakus & the Rebels (all very big deals back in the day), though any formal awards ceremony wouldn’t take place until the 1970 Gold Leaf Awards. After it was officially renamed as the JUNO Awards, operations soon shifted from the magazine to an advisory committee. Glitz, glam, and talented stars rain down every year thanks to them, and this year, for the second time ever, it’s raining down in Edmonton.
Get Ready, Edmonton
If music be the food of love, then Edmonton is gonna gorge. While the actual awards ceremony takes place on March 13 at Rogers Place, JUNO Week will be taking over the city leading up to it. JUNOFest in particular is a concert series hosting 50+ artists (some local, some nominees) at 12 venues across Edmonton, including The Aviary, Union Hall, and Starlite Room (junoawards.ca/events/junofest). There will also be a celebrity hockey game pitting musicians against actual NHLers; comedy shows featuring comedians nominated for Comedy Album of the Year; and the JUNO Songwriters’ Circle, where top lyricists and nominees share anecdotes behind their favourite songs.
Did you also know several of the awards nominees are from the Edmonton and Treaty 6 areas? These include The Bearhead Sisters and Cikwes (both for Traditional Indigenous Artist/ Group of the Year), Altameda (for Adult Alternative Album of the Year), and The McDades (for Traditional Roots Album). Toronto singer The Weeknd reigns the list this year, nominated in six categories including Album of the Year.
On stage March 13 for the 52nd celebration will be Canadian actor Simu Liu as host; performances including Alexisfire, Aysanabee, and Tenille Townes; and a once-in-a-lifetime career-highlighting performance by Nickelback, right after we get to see the rock band officially inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. For those not getting to see it all in person, it will be broadcasted on CBC and online. Good luck to all the nominees!
Mark Your Calendars
- JUNO Awards Night: March 13, live at Rogers Place and streamed online: junoawards.ca
- JUNOFest: March 10–12, full lineup & tickets: junoawards.ca/events/junofest