Posted on 12/11/2013, 2:56 pm, by mySteinbach

Manitoba will celebrate 2014 as the Year of Music and take the national stage with three major award ceremonies while also significantly expanding music opportunities for audiences and performers. This statement was made by Premier Greg Selinger.

“Manitobans know about our rich music scene, but this coming year we will show the nation and the world the thriving music we have here,” Premier Selinger said. “The Year of Music will bring us the excitement of major national events and a wealth of fabulous music festivals, plus we expect to see a growing number of small venues hosting an amazing range of musical acts.”

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will be the presenting sponsor of the Year of Music, a year-long celebration that will shine a spotlight on JUNO week in March, the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards in September and the BreakOut West music festival and Western Canadian Music Awards in October. In addition to more than 30 festivals and large events, small venues, restaurants and hotels will have the opportunity to host more live music than ever before as changes to Manitoba’s liquor laws kick in during the new year, the premier said.

The Year of Music is part of a strategy to create a lasting legacy for music in Manitoba, branding Winnipeg as a City of Music and creating more opportunities for musicians to connect with audiences, he said.

“By drawing attention to the diversity, depth and maturity of the music industry in Manitoba through a year-long celebration, we will highlight our musical heritage and thriving music scene,” said Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux. “We are confident this will help attract talent and investment in our music and hospitality industry.”

There are about 4,000 music entrepreneurs and 368 music companies in Manitoba. According to a recent economic impact study commissioned by Manitoba Music, the industry generated a total GDP impact of $71.3 million, supporting the equivalent of 4,363 jobs. The Juno Awards alone are expected to contribute $10 million to the Manitoba economy, the minister said.

Audiences can already easily find their favourite live music acts by checking Manitoba Music’s online calendar. A mobile app called Manitoba Music Live is under development and will allow Manitobans and tourists to quickly discover music venues while on the run, the premier said. It will be available for download in the new year.

Changes to Manitoba’s liquor laws will come into effect in 2014 and will make it easier for small music venues to host live events, which contribute to a diverse and vibrant nightlife, help make Manitoba an internationally recognized music scene and are great places to find exciting new acts, Premier Selinger said. Musicians such as The Guess Who, Neil Young, The Crash Test Dummies and The Weakerthans all got their start in small venues.

“Manitoba has a proud musical heritage and a vibrant and talented music scene. We look forward to celebrating that in a big way next year, putting music at centre stage in venues big and small, right across Manitoba,” said Sara Stasiuk, executive director of Manitoba Music and co-chair of the Year of Music organizing committee. “We intend to make it known that in Manitoba, we speak music.”

“We are proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Year of Music,” said Winston Hodgins, CEO of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation. “The many events that will celebrate the Year of the Music in 2014 have the potential to raise our music profile and attract new visitors and investment to our province.”