East Coast Music Awards cancelled over concerns of spreading novel coronavirus

Classified performs at the 2018 East Coast Music Awards gala in Halifax on Thursday, May 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

The East Coast Music Awards have been cancelled this year amid concerns about COVID-19.

The conference and festival was scheduled to run from April 29 to May 3 in St. John’s, N.L.

A statement from the East Coast Music Association’s board of directors says the event was cancelled after considering recommendations from the province, the regional health authority and the City of St. John’s.

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The board says it’s “devastated” to cancel the event given the challenges faced by musicians and music industry professionals during the public health emergency, but safety has to be taken seriously.

It says cancelling is the right thing to do to prevent the spread of the illness in the Atlantic region.

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The association says it’s looking into alternative ways to honour award winners and “celebrate the accomplishments of our world-class regional talent.”

“The music industry has, time and again, demonstrated a great wealth of resilience when faced with adversity,” a statement from the ECMA board read. “Together, we will get through this.”

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Actor and comedian Mary Walsh was set to host the April 30 awards show at Mile One Centre in downtown St. John’s.

The event was also to include a tribute to acclaimed Newfoundland folk musician Ron Hynes, to celebrate the “Sonny’s Dream” songwriter’s posthumous induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2020.

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