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Juno cancellation a missed opportunity for Manitoba nominees

What’s cancelled or postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic?
What’s cancelled or postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic?

Thursday’s cancellation of the 2020 Juno Awards, which were scheduled for this weekend in Saskatoon, over the novel coronavirus pandemic has left a lot of Canadian music fans disappointed.

For the artists hoping for a chance to pick up one of the homegrown music biz’s highest honours, it’s also a missed opportunity.

READ MORE: Juno Awards 2020 cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

Winnipeg singer-songwriter Renee Lamoureux is a first-time Juno nominee, thanks to a nod in the Adult Contemporary Album of the Year category, which she received for her Empower record.

She told 680 CJOB she would have liked to experience the event but is now waiting on standby for whatever happens next.

“I am disappointed, for sure,” she said.

“This is the first time I’m nominated, and it would’ve been cool to have been a part of the Junos.

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“Who would’ve ever thought this could happen?”

Lamoureux said she hasn’t heard anything yet from Juno organizers about how and when the awards will be given out and the winners announced.

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Fellow Manitoba nominee Del Barber said the impact goes beyond just the Juno ceremony itself.

“Talent buyers, festival bookers come to the Junos from all over the world,” said Barber, whose Easy Keeper LP is up for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year.

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“There’s 10 European delegates that are coming to watch showcases. Smaller acts, roots acts like myself, rely on getting booked in Europe to keep our bills paid.

“It’s a bit of a funny time for us right now. We rely on touring and playing events in the public, and it seems like all of that is just starting to stall.”

Barber told 680 CJOB that he expects the Junos to do something to “keep the wheels rolling” on the awards, considering the amount of time and investment that goes into such a large event.

Other Manitoba artists nominated for 2020 Junos include The Small Glories (Traditional Roots Artist of the Year), Fresh IE (Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year) and Big Dave McLean (Blues Album of the Year).

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The local music industry has been impacted beyond the Junos, with popular Winnipeg venues releasing policies on COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and taking extra precautions to keep performers and patrons safe.

Venues like the West End Cultural Centre and the Park Theatre are remaining open for the time being but taking steps to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and pledging to stay in touch with health authorities to determine any next steps.

READ MORE: Manitoba singer-songwriter stays true to his roots with Juno-nominated ‘Easy Keeper’

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