Juno party starts jumping as nominees arrive in London

The stars have arrived, the big stage awaits and events galore are breaking out in London

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The stars have arrived, the big stage awaits and events galore are breaking out in London as the city plunges headlong into the final stretch of a week-long celebration leading up to Sunday’s Juno Awards broadcast from London. Jonathan Juha reports.

The big picture

Canada’s biggest music party of the year, the Juno Awards and its side events celebrate the best in the recording industry and are being held in London for the first time, a feather in the cap for a city that’s been building its street cred in the arts and entertainment business. Two years ago, in its breakout role as a host city for big-ticket music events, London hosted the Canadian Country Music Association’s days-long celebration capped by its annual awards show.

The backdrop

The wraps came off the sound stage Friday for the national awards show that will be broadcast from Budweiser Gardens, with the media given a preview of what Canadians will see when the spotlight is trained on the downtown arena on Sunday. The glitzy stage features a long catwalk into the audience and a smaller round stage with the Junos logo on its surface from where artists can sing. “We wanted to get the public right there into the show,” said John Brunton, executive producer of the awards show.

Dundas Place flexes

The completed first half of London’s flex street, a new pedestrian-friendly stretch of Dundas Street able to be closed to traffic and used for street events, got its first workout Friday when Fanshawe College, with a new two-building downtown campus on the same stretch of Dundas, uncorked a street festival with live music, giant swings, buskers and even a special performance by Juno-nominated children’s musical duo Splash’N Boots. Despite the cold, wet weather, there was no shortage of people taking in the activities. “It just looks fantastic. I just can’t believe all the stuff they have in here,” said Londoner Ashley Moon, who was on Dundas Street with her two kids.

Going green

One of London’s largest private employers, TD, a Juno Awards sponsor, opened its Green Room showcase for emerging talent at the DoubleTree Hilton with a local twist. Area girls who spent their March break at London Girls Rock Camp, backed by a $25,000 instrument grant from TD through the Junos’ MusiCounts charity, played a trio of tunes, then sat on the floor as Juno-nominated Cambridge country music duo The Reklaws took to the stage. Nine-year-old Iris Tarasick “loves, loves, loves” playing bass at camp, but will be focusing on a side project next with two friends under the group name Tired Lemons. Her mother had to explain to her what a side project is.

Party pooper

There will be hot tunes across London this weekend, with music performances hitched to Juno Week at a variety of stages, but the weather will be decidedly cool. Friday’s wet, overcast conditions, with daytime temperatures in the 6 C range, will give way to cooler stuff, with snow flurries and a high of zero forecast on Saturday and only a tad warmer Sunday but with more sun.

– With file by Dan Brown, Free Press reporter

For full Juno coverage: Visit lfpress.com/tag/junoawards

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JUNO WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Saturday, March 16

Junior Junos, 10:30 a.m., Wolf Performance Hall, Central Library, 251 Dundas St.; individual tickets to Junior Junos are priced at $9.04 for children and $22.60 for adults, family passes available at $45.20 and can be purchased at eventbrite.ca.

Juno Fan Fare, and selfie fest, noon-2 p.m., free, at Centre Court, CF Masonville Place

Juno exhibit, noon-5 p.m., with the Woodshed Series Concert at 2 p.m.; London Music Hall of Fame, 182 Dundas St.

Juno Stories from the Studio, featuring some of Canada’s most accomplished recording engineers and producers, 12:30-2 p.m., Fanshawe College, 130 Dundas St.; tickets: $15

Juno Fest, 9 p.m., various locations; $30 wristband gives entry to all performances

Sunday, March 17

Juno Songwriters’ Circle, featuring David Foster, Dan Mangan, Elisapie, Laila Biali, Meghan Patrick and Tyler Shaw, co-hosted by Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle and CBC Radio’s q host Tom Power, noon; Centennial Hall; tickets: $49.50

Juno Awards, featuring performances by Arkells, Bahamas, bülow, Coeur De Pirate with Loud Loud Luxury, Jeremy Dutcher, Blake Pouliot, NAV, The Reklaws, the 2019 Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Corey Hart, a special performance from Europe by Shawn Mendes and a performance by host Sarah McLachlan, 8 p.m.; Budweiser Gardens; tickets: $82.95 – $202.95, available at the box office, online at budweisergardens.com, or by phone at 1-866-455-2849.

 

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