By Belle Hatfield
For The Vanguard
Music Nova Scotia has picked up an international award at the Great Escape convention in Brighton, England (May 10-12) for its showcase, Nova Scotia Music Week. The Great Escape is one of Europe’s largest annual music industry conventions.
The yearly music convention awards gala recognized Nova Scotia Music Week as the best regional/smaller convention. It beat out entries from Spain, England, Luxembourg and Austria.
Yarmouth has played host to Nova Scotia Music Week for the past three years and last year’s host community committee chair, Kim Anderson, says she is thrilled that the Music Week convention has received this international recognition.
The local committee is responsible for everything from coordinating volunteers and providing transportation to entertaining VIPs and international delegates. While Music Nova Scotia organizes the delegates and entertainers and runs the event, the support of a large number of committed volunteers is critical to its success, says Scott Long, Music Nova Scotia’s executive director.
“We wouldn’t have been nominated if it wasn’t for the success of the events in Yarmouth and the support we got there,” he pointed out during an interview after his return from Brighton.
“The people that were involved in the nomination had been to the event (in Yarmouth) several times. Obviously their experiences there played into it,” he said.
Award finalists are chosen by industry professionals and the winners are the result of an open, online voting competition.
“We have received many letters over the last three years from international delegates.” says Anderson. “They are amazed that they could come to this small town at the southernmost tip of Nova Scotia and be treated with such warmth and hospitality.”
Anderson says Yarmouth and especially all the local volunteers and sponsors have reason to be proud of their role.
“This is really awesome. It really is a great event and it does deserve this recognition,” she said, adding that, along with the musical talent in Nova Scotia and the dedication of the staff at Music Nova Scotia, a small part of what has made the conference stand out is the large serving of Nova Scotian hospitality provided by the people of Yarmouth.
“It goes back to this infectious passion,” she says.
Whether it was a detour for lobster on a tour to Cape Forchu or securing an acoustic piano for an impromptu songwriting session, Anderson says requests were greeted with a can-do attitude.
Nova Scotia Music Week is not just a chance to celebrate Nova Scotia’s music industry. This is about the business of music. Education and promotion of Nova Scotia’s pool of music talent is a key component of the week. Attracting international industry officials is one of Music Nova Scotia’s objectives. Long says Music Nova Scotia has been building its strategic focus on the UK music market.
“We do quite a bit of work over there in terms of plotting showcasing opportunities for our artists,” he said. “The award increases our brand awareness and provides a heightened sense of quality assurance for our international brand and for the quality of our work and of our artists.”
To Long, the award signifies the province’s place in the music industry. “For being such a small market, and with some of the isolation issues that we face, we fight above our weight class big time. And this award really just goes to show that, to get that kind of recognition on the international scene,” he said.
Venues for the next three years have been set. Nova Scotia Music Week will be held in Liverpool this fall. Sydney will host the event in 2013 and Music Week goes to Truro in 2014.
Will it ever return to Yarmouth?
“We built the template,” says Anderson, snapping her fingers, “and we could host it again. There’s something about that knowledge that makes you think, ‘Well, why not?’”