Q-and-A: Juno Awards head Allan Reid on celebrating Canadian music in a pandemic

Q-and-A: Juno Awards head Allan Reid on celebrating Canadian music in a pandemic

TORONTO — A stripped-back presentation of the 2020 Juno Awards on Monday will toast the Canadian music scene, and the present’s head organizer hopes it’ll mark a shiny second for an business hit exhausting by COVID-19.

With live performance venues closed and most performers staying at dwelling with out gigs, Allan Reid stated he’s centered on giving this yr’s Juno nominees the popularity they missed after the pandemic sidelined a weekend of accolades in Saskatoon a number of months in the past.

But he stated this yr’s present, which is skipping broadcast TV and going on to CBC Gem, will look undeniably completely different than ones in the previous.

“This is not the Juno broadcast that you would see on television — it’s not 12 performances and six awards,” defined Reid, who serves as president of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).

Instead, the present is cramming two nights of trophies into a brisk ceremony recorded in isolation.

Winners in a dizzying 42 classes can be introduced over 90 minutes, placing the marquee nominees for single and album of the yr in the identical highlight as extra obscure ones, reminiscent of world music and kids’s album.

Presenters embrace Toronto Raptors’ Chris Boucher and two-time Juno winner Jessie Reyez, whereas songs can be carried out by Iskwe, Neon Dreams, the Dead South, and Alessia Cara, who was initially imagined to host the cancelled tv occasion.

The Junos will stream on CBC Gem, and CBC’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

Reid spoke with The Canadian Press about making a completely different form of Junos present, how the virus is slamming the music business, and what all of it means for the 50th anniversary of the awards set for subsequent March.


CP: There are a variety of important modifications to this yr’s Junos, together with that Alessia Cara stepped away from internet hosting duties. But she’s additionally this yr’s prime nominee with six nods. How will she be concerned in the present?

Reid: Alessia goes to have a one-time efficiency of “Rooting for You” (which is nominated for single of the yr). It’s an unique premiere from her new EP referred to as “This Summer: Live Off The Floor,” which is popping out in July. She recorded it pre-pandemic.



CP: How about Jann Arden, who was initially imagined to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame by Anne Murray on the printed? Those plans have been sidelined, however is one thing going to materialize later?

Reid: We felt this was not the time… these are lifetime moments. So we haven’t finalized particulars. We are attempting to determine how one can accomplish that, whether or not it’s across the 50th anniversary, or one other means, we’re undecided. (There have been) so many disappointments with the present not occurring and that was positively considered one of them.


CP: Speaking of the 50th anniversary, the Junos are slated for Toronto subsequent yr to mark the momentous event. The celebration could be the primary time in a decade that the awards have taken place in the town. But contemplating the virus, is that also on?

Reid: Obviously, COVID is has modified every little thing. As a music occasion that’s a mass gathering — from all of our occasions to the printed — we’ve to be taking into account: What if there may be a second wave? Things are nonetheless comparatively unknown about what the long run will maintain, so we have to make plans, and alternate plans, to guarantee that we will nonetheless do a celebration. But what precisely that’s going to be, proper now we’re nonetheless working by way of. I don’t suppose there’s anyone who can say for positive if we’re going to have the ability to collect 15,000 individuals in the Scotiabank Arena subsequent March.



CP: After the last-minute cancellation of the 2020 Junos, do you intend to return to Saskatoon?

Reid: We’re working on a three- to five-year plan always with future cities. The problem for Saskatoon is that every little thing was spent — it wasn’t like we cancelled a month earlier than the occasion, (it was) 48 to 72 hours. And so all of the meals had been delivered to the conference centre for the gala dinner, the stage was totally constructed, we have been beginning rehearsals. The entire machine was rolling. So, from an funding standpoint, it requires new funding to make that occur once more. Hopefully we’ll get a probability to return.



CP: What concerning the Canadian music business as a entire? Since the nation successfully shut down stay leisure, we’ve seen musicians rally for monetary assist from the federal authorities, however there’s a extra unsure street forward for stay music. You’re head of CARAS, a non-profit that helps performers, so how do you see this shaping up?

Reid: The music business — like sports activities, like eating places — has been hit extremely exhausting. It’s devastating to see artists lose their livelihoods who can’t tour. Yes, we’re very lucky to have a authorities that’s offering (help) to attempt to make ends meet, however I’ve had so many conversations with artists who’re simply going, “I don’t know much how longer I can go. I’ve got to find another way to make a living.” If they’re not on the radio and never producing that type of efficiency revenue, it comes from performing stay. And I’m extraordinarily apprehensive of what’s going to occur to the venues throughout this nation. If that is extended from three-and-a-half months into subsequent yr, how do these venues survive? And in the event that they go away then the place do the bands go to play?

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed June 26, 2020.

Follow @dfriend on Twitter.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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