March 15 through 20 marked CIMA’s return to the SXSW music fest and the 11th edition of Canadian Blast in Austin. This year 30 Canadian companies and associations joined the mission for three days and four nights of showcasing, networking,B2B opportunities (and partying). We asked the trade org to give us a synopsis of events and here's what we received back....
We kicked off our Canadian Blast mission with the world famous Canadian Blast BBQ on Wednesday afternoon at Brush Square, with a great lineup of artists including Terra Lightfoot, Royal Canoe, The Lytics, Milk and Bone, The Zolas and the Arkells. The weather was on our side, as over 2,000 attendees got to enjoy a beautiful Austin day, BBQ and some great prizes to attend 6 Canadian festivals!
From there we were pleased to partner with M for Montreal to kick off Canada House for an evening of hip-hop with SHI 360, Humble Giants, Wasiu, Lucas DiPasquale, Wordburglar, Horsepowar, The Posterz and The Lytics! It was a great way to get the ball rolling and to start off the SXSW nighttime programming.
Thursday’s Canada House daytime events started in Western Canada with “How The West Was Won”, the Alberta and Saskatchewan co-presented showcase that featured Kacy and Clayton, The Royal Foundry, Library Voices and The Wet Secrets. The festivities continued in the prairies with the “Manitoba Party” presented by Manitoba Music featuring The Mariachi Ghost, Mise en Scene, The Lytics and Royal Canoe. Canada House kept the West alive with a SXSW nighttime showcase presented by BreakOut West from We Were Lovers, Faith Healer, The Mariachi Ghost, The Dead South, Close Talker and Royal Canoe.
On the next day we jumped into Central Canada for “Bring it ONtario” presented by OMDC and MusicOntario featuring The Weather Station, Megan Bonnell, More or Les, Wordburglar, Young Rival, For Esme, Dearly Beloved and Terra Lightfoot. We kept things in Ontario with the SXSW nighttime showcase presented by Ontario’s biggest international festival and conference Canadian Music Week, showcasing more great Canadian artists from across Canada featuring Terra Lightfoot, Fast Romantics, The Trews, The Zolas, Dearly Beloved and The Wet Secrets.
Saturday we headed back to the West coast in style with Music BC’s SXSW Showcase and Caesar Party (the perfect Canadian wake up) featuring Jody Glenham, Twin River, Humans and Bear Mountain. We closed off SXSW with one of the busiest afternoons we’ve ever had, as City of Toronto’s “Music Meets World” brought us Fast Romantics, JAHKOY, Whitney Rose and a surprise acoustic performance from The Strumbellas, which brought Canada House to a standstill as the jam-packed crowd went silent and sang along with the band, and lineups formed outside the door. East Coast festival Halifax Pop Explosion closed off the festivities with their nighttime showcase featuring Twin River, Mise en Scene, Library Voices, Paper Lions with Humans closing the doors to Canada House with a pumping DJ set.
A huge thanks to Friends bar for hosting us for another successful year of Canada House!
Amidst all of these showcases, we also squeezed in our business initiative with 30 Canadian companies participating in four different B2B and networking events throughout SXSW to round out our business and marketing strategy.
CIMA conducted a robust marketing strategy throughout SXSW 2016, hiring an in-market consultant, in-market production and an American PR firm to help us get the word out about our great Canadian artists!
“It takes a village to organize and execute such a huge undertaking such as SXSW,” says CIMA President Stuart Johnston. “Many thanks must go to our showcase partners from across Canada, our members and the artists, CIMA staff, and of course the many generous sponsors and supporters for helping to underwrite the cost of this year’s mission. Everyone and every organization involved should be proud of the role they each played to make this another successful year for Canada at SXSW."
CIMA gratefully acknowledges and thanks our generous sponsors and partners Canadian Music Week (CMW), Corus Entertainment, the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), the Government of Canada (through MEC/Canadian Heritage), Harvard Broadcasting, Music Managers Forum Canada, Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), the Radio Starmaker Fund, Stingray Music and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).
Editor's note: So there you has it, Wasn't that a party with a purpose or what!