Winnipeg to host the 2005 Junos
WINNIPEG — Winnipeg will host the Juno Awards in 2005, now all we need is a headliner.
“My dream is to get Neil Young to play Portage and Main. Wouldn’t it be great to have a parka party at Portage and Main with Neil Young?” said Mayor Glen Murray.
Young, a one-time Winnipegger, has been quoted in the past as saying he would never appear at the Junos unless they were held in Winnipeg, so Murray is going to try to get him keep his word and headline a Get Together Downtown street party the mayor is planning to coincide with the Juno Awards, which will be held in Winnipeg April 1-3, 2005.
“When we host this we will spend every penny we can to make this the best one ever,” Murray said at a press conference yesterday.
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) decided to award the Junos to Winnipeg after a local bid committee wowed them with a presentation at the Juno Awards in Ottawa this past April, said CARAS chairman Ross Reynolds.
The awards used to only be held in Toronto and Vancouver but have recently been held in St. John’s, Nfld. and Ottawa, where they pumped millions of dollars into the local economies. They will be in Edmonton next year and in Winnipeg the year after that.
“After St. John’s the overwhelming consensus was stay the hell out of Toronto,” Reynolds said.
The three levels of government have committed about $800,000 to hold the Junos in Winnipeg and private sponsors are also on board, said Kevin Walters, Manitoba Film and Sound manager of sound recording programs, who led the Manitoba bid committee.
The three-day event — which could be expanded to include the street party — includes Juno Fest, a two-day music festival to be held in downtown clubs; Juno Fan Fare, a chance for fans to get up close and personal with Canadian musicians at autograph and photo sessions; and a Songwriter’s Circle, where artists perform intimate acoustic shows and explain how they write songs.
The Sunday night awards show will be held at the new True North Centre, while other events will be held at the Convention Centre, bars and hotels.
The awards show is the first confirmed event at the new downtown arena, other than the Manitoba Moose.
It’s scheduled to open in November, 2004.
“A great thing is you can walk to most places. Ottawa was great, but the Corel Centre is half-an-hour from downtown,” Reynolds said.
Premier Gary Doer hinted bars could extend their hours during Juno week to match St. John’s.
“I guess we’ve got to change a few liquor laws in Manitoba to show our hospitality,” he said.
The local bid committee — made up of government and industry representatives — will spend the next 15 months organizing venues and working on a marketing plan, Walters said.
Ticket prices won’t be set or go on sale until after nominations are announced in February 2005.