Nominees for the upcoming 2016 East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs) were announced on Tuesday. Hey Rosetta! lead this year’s crop of hopefuls with seven nominations, followed by Jenn Grant (with six), Amelia Curran and Fortunate Ones (five each), and Ryan Hemsworth and Mo Kenney (four apiece). Check the full nominations list here.
To get his take on the upcoming ECMA conference and awards show, FYI contacted East Coast Music Association Executive Director Andy McLean. We reached him as he was flying to Glasgow to attend the Celtic Connections festival, but he generously found time to respond to our queries.
McLean was pleased at the media and online reaction to the ECMA nominations announcement, noting that “we certainly saw increased national and regional awareness compared to last year. The ECMAs are on definitely on an upwards swing.”
This year the awards and associated East Coast Music Week festival and conference will be held in Sydney, Nova Scotia, from April 13 to 17 (the gala awards show is on Thursday, April 14 at Centre 200). The event was last held in Sydney in 2011, with McLean explaining that “The ECMAs has an annual cycle through the five East Coast regions it represents namely - NL, PEI, NS, NB and Cape Breton.“
An impressive lineup of performers on the show includes Hey Rosetta! (pictured above), Jenn Grant, Fortunate Ones, City Natives, Heather Rankin, Ben Caplan, Christina Martin, The East Pointers, and Raphaël Butler. Hosting duties will be performed by Ashley MacIsaac and Heather Rankin, a pairing McLean is excited about.
“Ashley has never hosted before,” he says. “The idea was pitched to me via our Board Secretary Dawn Beaton and I jumped at the chance to have him host. Sure to be lots of creative ideas. Heather co-hosted back in 1996, and the two together are sure to make for a fabulous not to be missed show.”
Guaranteed to be a show-stoppingly emotional show highlight will be a special tribute to late great Newfoundland singer/songwriter Ron Hynes. “We’re still in the planning stages of the tribute,” says McLean. “ We want it to be THE authentic tribute featuring as many of Ron’s key players as possible with some very special guest appearances to pay tribute. Stay tuned for details.”
McLean is also optimistic about the East Coast Music Week conference, noting that “there is a very strong list of international and national buyers coming to be part of the Export Buyers program. Last year we generated $1.1 million in new business for ECMA artists. This program (now in its 12th year) is essential to growing business opportunities for Atlantic Canada.” He adds that panelist and speaker announcements will be coming soon.
The Celtic Connections festival (billed as “the UK’s largest celebration of Celtic music") he is attending now has ties with the East Coast Music Association. “We’ve had a trade agreement with them for the last three years,” McLean explains. “We are showcasing three ECMA acts for 150 top industry buyers at Celtic Connections. It’s an incredible opportunity that will create new business for our members. The reciprocal part of the agreement means we have invited two Scottish acts to be part of the ECMAs in Sydney. There will be a reception and showcase to introduce them to our delegates and buyers. We have the same type of agreement with Australia and it works great.”