With less than a month before the festivities commence, talk of the JUNOS is revving up in the capital city.
Early media events have slowly started to divulge information about the Canadian music awards show and the inevitability of it consuming the attention of Ottawa during the last week of March – and there’s no doubt that the hype will continue to grow along with the long list of globetrotting Canadian artists and celebrities who are expected to attend the April 1st event at the Scotiabank Place.
On Friday afternoon it was announced that William Shatner, Canadian actor and celebrity host who originally hails from Montreal, will be handling hosting duties from behind the microphone on the big night – introducing the performing likes of Nickelback, Hey Rosetta!, Feist, City and Colour, deadmau5, Hedley, Sarah McLachlan and Blue Rodeo as well as a live dance “Mix Tape” performance by new dance artists Alyssa Reid, JRDN, Anjulie, Mia Martina and Dragonette.
“We’re delighted to welcome one of our nation’s shining stars to Canada’s biggest night in music,” said Melanie Berry, President & CEO, Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and The JUNO Awards. “William Shatner is a Canadian hero, and with his love for music, the stage, and entertaining as a whole, it’s sure to be an incredible show.”
The week prior to the red carpet affair and music-filled televised event will see an influx of national media and Canadian artists into the capital region to participate in JUNO publicity events, such as a collaborative visit to the National Gallery of Art with Canadian artists called the JUNO Tour of Canadian Art, as well as PANDAMONIUM at the Civic Centre, JUNO Hoops at the University of Ottawa, JUNO fanfare at the St. Laurent shopping centre and JUNOfest, a multi-venue showcase featuring 100 local, regional and national acts to take place the weekend of the awards show. Further East, Toronto is holding a number of showcases and lead-up events that will collect some of the biggest names in Canadian music before they trek to Ottawa for the Sunday night broadcast.
Perhaps one of the most intimate prelude events is the JUNOS Songwriter’s Circle, hosted this year by famed folk-rock artist Dan Mangan, and designed to bring together talented Canadian singer-songwriters for a cozy trading of strums and stories on stage at the Centrepointe Theatre. Mangan will conduct the dialogue, perform his own acoustic Canadian hits and introduce CBC Radio 3 artists like Max Kerman of The Arkells, David Francey and Lindi Ortega during the ticketed musical gathering.
On Saturday, March 31st, pop-punk band Simple Plan is to be honoured with the 2012 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award during the 2012 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards. The award, which recognizes outstanding Canadian artists whose humanitarian contributions have positively enhanced the social fabric of Canada, will be given to the band for their launching of the Simple Plan Foundation, an initiative that has donated more than $750,000 to youth-focused charities since December 2005 and helps both young people in need and children facing life-threatening illness in Canada and abroad. The group’s most recent benefit concert with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra raised a whopping $1 million in donations to go towards the Foundation.
On receiving the award, lead singer Chuck Cormeau said, “Words cannot express how grateful we are to be the recipients of this award. To be recognized by CARAS and the JUNO Awards is a true honour for us. As a band we have been very fortunate to receive the constant support of our fans, which has allowed us to continue doing what we love for the last ten years. Because of that, we believe that it is extremely important for us to give back, and the Simple Plan Foundation is our way to do this.”
All-Star games, another successful Winterlude and now the biggest evening in Canadian music taking place in Kanata are all proof that Ottawa has a substantial place on Canada’s culture map in 2012 – so stay tuned to Ottawa Life online as we celebrate Ottawa’s presence with more emerging updates and live coverage on the night of the broadcast.
*All images courtesy of Quame Scott of Q3 Studio*