March 20, 2017 4:26 pm

Country Music Week delivered $8.4 million in economic activity for Ontario: organizers

Jess Moskaluke performed at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards in London, Ont., on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

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Some of the best known names in country music descended in London for Country Music Week — and so did tourism money. Millions of it, in fact.

The Canadian Country Music Association, which organizes the annual event, said the week generated $8.4 million in economic activity across the province — much of it specific to London.

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The economic impact assessment was conducted by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, looking at money spent on travel, hotel, meals, and other spin-off expenditures from the 18,500 fans, artists and industry leaders who attended the conference — 4,900 of whom travelled from outside London.

The week featured concerts, workshops and pop-up events at venues across downtown London, capped off with the televised awards show at Budweiser Gardens. When tickets for the awards show went on sale, they sold out in minutes — a record for the CCMA.

Country Music Week 2016 was London’s largest non-sporting event ever, which one city official says may pave the way for future arts- and culture-related conferences.

“The economic assessment is a testament to how well the city came together and embraced Country Music Week,” said Chris Campbell, director of cultural and entertainment tourism at Tourism London, and also chair of the host committee for Country Music Week 2016. “London proved itself once again to be an impeccable host city, this time opening the door for future major music, entertainment and cultural events.”

Mayor Matt Brown was similarly encouraged, vowing to “roll out the red carpet for more world-class events” in the future.

According to the head of the CCMA, supporting local economies is as important as supporting Canada’s country music industry.

“To bring significant economic value to our host city and province, and to have maintained cultural significance in the Canadian arts landscape for 40 years is a testament to the Canadians from coast to coast who join us in embracing country music,” said Don Green, CCMA’s president. “We look forward to building on our tradition of educating, elevating and celebrating Canadian country music for years to come.”

Later this year, the Country Music Association of Ontario will be hosting its awards show in London as well.

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