Country Music Week kicks off in Saskatoon

WATCH ABOVE: The Canadian Country Music Association kicked off several days of events Thursday that will lead up to the CCMA awards gala Sunday.

After five years away, Country Music Week is back in Saskatoon and what better place to kick off than on the Prairie Lily.

The noon hour event saw artists, Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) officials and local names take to Saskatoon’s riverboat.

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“We keep innovating and adding new events and it’s nice to be able to compare because we have been here, but we’re hoping this will be bigger than ever,” said Ted Ellis, the chair of the CCMA.

The four-day annual event is a music festival, as well as an industry conference, with the grand finale of the CCMA Awards show on Sunday evening.

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“Sometimes you go to country music for solace, to help with tough times especially and for times when you want to celebrate life, and so I think that’s a big part of the life of this province,” said Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark.

There will be a number of events taking place in Saskatoon leading up to Sunday, including songwriter sessions, a showcase and even a fan fest.

“We have some of the biggest country stars coming here and having our residents get to meet them and also to celebrate some of our great country stars,” Clark said.

Tenille Arts is from Weyburn and performed at the kick off event. She was nominated for her first CCMA award last year.

She signed a publishing deal in Nashville and said networking at the music event is key.

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“You can see music, you can go and talk to industry people and talk to all these people you normally wouldn’t have access to,” Arts said.

“I’ve been coming to the CCMA’s for a long time so I think people should come and get involved and these opportunities will open up.”

READ MORE: Nominees announced for 2017 CCMA Awards