The biggest stage in Canadian music is coming to Forest City: London has been chosen to host the 48th annual Juno Awards in March 2019.
The show itself will be held at Budweiser Gardens on March 17, while Juno Week festivities throughout the city begin March 11.
It’s the first time the award show, the biggest entertainment event in Canada, is coming to London since it began touring across the country in 2002.
“It’s an absoloute honour for London to host the Juno Awards,” said Mayor Matt Brown. He was on hand for Monday morning’s announcement at the London Music Hall.
“Music offers each and every one of us the opportunity to express ourselves. It’s a creative outlet, it’s a motivator. It enlightens and empowers so many of us. The arts are powerful, the arts unite, and the arts are an economic driver too.”
For the host city each year, the Juno Awards have created an average $10-million economic impact. But that’s not all, says Tourism London’s director of culture and entertainment, Chris Campbell.
“If you were going to try and put a price tag of bringing the national music industry to London, Ont. — when we’re focusing on arts and culture and you think of our venues, our recording studios, our educational facilities and that effort — that’s priceless,” said Campbell.
As for how many people it’ll bring to London, Campbell says, “the sky is the limit when you’re putting a national spotlight on London.”
He says the popularity of Canadian music and London’s proximity to Toronto will all play a role in drawing people from all across the continent.
Campbell has been a driving force in securing the bid for London, earning himself a nod from Juno Awards president and CEO Allan Reid.
“He’s absolutely made it his mission to bring the Junos to London,” said Reid.
He went on to say the bid was “outstanding,” and that he and the board of directors at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) were “wowed” by the proposal’s strategy.
Reid also made mention of the city’s rich music history: London was home to one of the first Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees, the late Guy Lombardo, and JUNO Award-winning producer Jack Richardson.
City hall unanimously agreed to pitch $500,000 for the $1.7-million Juno bid fee last September. The rest of the money is coming from the province and other sources. ”
We are really fortunate to live in a province where our government respects and values the important role our musicians play in our culture and also in our economy,” said Reid.
There’ll be a whole host of events in the week leading up to the award show, including fundraisers for the Juno’s music education charity MusiCares, a separate showcase for children’s artists, a songwriter’s circle and JunoFest.
London’s own Ivory Hours performed two songs to close out the announcement. Singer and guitarist Luke Roes co-founded the indie pop band in 2012, and hopes the Junos will bring something London’s music industry badly needs: smaller venues.
“I think there’s just a lot of room for those kind of 100- to 200-cap places to pop up in the city,” he said. “There’s a need for it, and this is a good bit of inspiration for those people to pull the trigger.” I
n support of the festivities, the city says starting Monday, a dollar from every ticket sold at Budweiser Gardens, Centennial Hall, and London Music Hall will go towards MusiCares.