The Juno Awards were handed out last weekend in Saskatoon, SK and provided the city with an array of fine talent, eager fans, and a nice boost for a city mainly known for crops and mining.
I was excited to not only be in the 'Toon' to take in the annual music weekend; but I was right in on the action working with the amazing production crew for the live show. I had the privilege of assisting the band 'AlexisonFire' and presenter Rick Hansen, known for his 'Man in Motion' world tour which spanned more than 40,000 km through 34 countries; took over two years to complete; and which he raised more than $26 million for spinal cord injury.
I arrived at the airport in Saskatoon three days before the live Sunday telecast. The airport was bustling with musicians, label management, producers, and other music industry buffs. I picked up my rental car and headed to my accommodations to try and get a good nights rest, as I knew I had a few long days ahead of me.
My work began bright and early Friday morning at the Credit Union Center venue. Rehearsals started and I needed to get prepped before the guys of AlexisonFire showed up. A lot of my time was used assisting the production in whatever capacity they needed me for, but when my talent was on location; I was in charge of keeping track of them and catering to all their needs. I had to make sure I knew where they were at all times so that when they were needed on stage, there was no wasting anyone's time. The guys arrived around lunchtime along with MuchMusic VJ Leah Miller who is dating Dallas Green in the band. I chatted with her for a while after rehearsal. She was so friendly and very personable; great qualities for a television host.
From of my involvement with the show, and the long hours that come with working in television production I didn't get out to enjoy many of the showcases that I would have liked to, but I managed to get into the Bedouin Soundclash show Friday night being held on the University of Saskatchewan campus at a place called Louis' Pub. My friends and I somehow managed to bypass the long line of people waiting to get in. When we did enter through the doors we had a blast. I had never seen this trio in concert before. They really blew me away. Eon Sinclair, Pat Pengally, and Jay Malinowski make up Bedouin Soundclash. Their stage presence, musicianship, and creativity left a good impression with me. The place was packed with fans of all ages, (well the legal age to drink anyway). The crowd sang along to most of their songs, including the hit "When The Night Feels My Soul".
After leaving Louis', my friends and I headed over to where an MTV party hosted by the 'Pink Mafia' was being held. The venue was called Walkers in downtown Saskatoon. It was a very small place crowded with television personalities including Tanya Kim of eTalk, Daryn Jones of MTV Live, and members from bands like AlexisonFire, and Billy Talent. The party wasn't as fun as our previous adventure at Bedouin Soundclash's show, probably because this place was tiny and mainly filled with industry names mingling with other industry names. Still, it was fun while it lasted. It was finally time to leave when my gang realized we had another long day ahead of us and needed sleep.
Jumping ahead to the day of the show. I was at the venue bright and early for a 7am call time. Dress rehearsals continued on throughout the day with the bands and presenters. At the three o'clock hour it was time to head up to the red carpet where I met up with AlexisonFire after they walked the carpet for eTalk at the Junos pre-show. I escorted them to their seats and then proceeded to assist my other talent, Rick Hansen. I was on double duty. The show went off with no hitches. I was actually surprised that it went so well. With live shows, you never know what glitches you could run into. I found my talent easy to work with and a pleasure.
After the show I quickly went back to the hotel to change for our production company after party. At about 2:30am after that party it was time to head over to the Universal Music festivities. I went with some producers from the television network and eTalk. I was there with artists like DJ Champion, Billy Talent, AlexisonFire, and television personalities Sean Gehon from Star TV, and Matte Babel from MuchMusic, among many others. Finally at 4:00am it was time to call it quits and time to head right to the airport to catch my 6:00am flight back to Toronto. I went more than 24 hours with no sleep, but it was all worth it.
In my publicity role, I couldn't stop for a minute to catch any of the show's highlights and although I couldn't cover a lot more of the showcases, It was a great experience from a behind the scenes perspective. I met many amazing people, and made a few new friends over the weekend. It was fantastic!
For a list of the 2007 Juno Award winners please visit www.junoawards.ca.