500 bands to rock 2007 Canadian Music Week

by W. Andrew Powell

Canadian Music Week 2007 kicks off tomorrow, March 7, and that means four days of bands, parties, conference sessions, and awards spread across some of Toronto hottest venues. Sure, if you’re in the music business you’re going to want to check out the conference, but that’s a no-brainer. So what about the festival? What about those 500 bands appearing at the over 40 live music venues?

I spoke with Festival Director, and indie fanatic Phil Klygo about this year’s lineup and to him, planning the festival is fun, but a lot of hard work too. “Every year it’s grueling. And every year it’s difficult, but much more thorough…” And this year, thanks to the jurors on the selection panel and the help of a music management company, Klygo also thinks they’ve arranged the best year ever.

“It’s good to have those people on board who work in the industry, know the venues, know what bands are buzz bands… as opposed to someone just coming in fresh and trying to make headway out of like, ‘Okay, who’s this band, who’s this guy?’ This festival has been pretty much a joy because it’s a little smaller than last year, and no red herrings for venues this year I don’t think – you know, knock on wood.”

Klygo also expects that music fans will be blown away by the stellar acts and the diversity of artists. “Just the quality of the bands, like no word of a lie, I kinda say that every year but, wow, it’s consistently great. A lot of great independent international bands as well as Canadian bands.”

The mixture of acts, which spans 19 countries, is what he calls “jaw dropping”. In particular, there’s the mix of heavy-weight shows, like Public Enemy, the Indie Awards at the Docks featuring The Stills, Wolfmother, Preistess, and Rough Trade; the return of Music Export Denmark; the Arts & Crafts showcase with Finnish indie label Full Steam; not to mention a number of other hot acts that Klygo raved about.

Among them: The Pipettes from Memphis Industries, My Latest Novel from Bella Union, Kissaway Trail, Harmonica, the Chart Magazine Showcase at The Horseshoe, and the Sirius Songwriters Café Showcase at the Mod Club.

Looking at the entire list of artists you can’t help but be a little impressed by what they’ve managed to put together. Klygo went on to say, “The awareness of the festival is certainly exponentially building, which is cool… which is half the battle when people know that they need to play this event, there’s less need for us to be going after people.”

Ultimately though, while this is a big year for the festival Klygo and the team behind CMW have loftier dreams than just another great year. “We have goals of this being like the film festival in Toronto,” Klygo said. “We don’t just want the music people around, we want all of Toronto to come out. And it’s surprising. There’s still a lot of people who don’t go out to see live music in this city.”

Canadian Music Week runs from March 7-10 at over 40 venues across Toronto’s downtown core. Festival wristbands sell for $35 through Ticketmaster & TicketBreak outlets. Visit www.cmw.net for more on the festival, and other events, including tomorrow night’s Indie Awards.

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