Music Ontario Hosts A Town Hall Meeting At CMW

As CMW attendees and delegates lined up to collect their passes at the Sheraton yesterday afternoon, Music Ontario hosted one of the first events on the conference sked, a Town Hall meeting entitled Opportunities Ontario.

In the words of their literature, this was “designed to engage various constituents from across the province to discuss ideas, troubleshoot common concerns and brainstorm mutually beneficial opportunities to connect the greater community.”

The meeting was ably chaired by Brian Hetherman of Music Ontario, and the org did a fine job of assembling major players in provincial funding bodies and other music associations. The grouping included FACTOR head Duncan McKie, Marina Adam of the Ontario Music Fund, Erin Benjamin of Music Canada Live, representatives of the Ontario Arts Council, ACTRA, Folk Music Ontario, Work In Culture, and the Toronto Public Library music program, Bruce Good of the CMAO, John Bartlett of Kelp Music, City of Toronto Music Sector head Mike Tanner, and his counterparts from London, Hamilton, and Ottawa.

In his self-introduction, Bruce Good quipped that “we don’t give money away but we’ll gladly take some!”

Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the questions from the floor were directed to those with money to give away. Those representing FACTOR, the OMF, and the OAC all gave valuable information on their funding and how it can be accessed.

One questioner criticized the FACTOR website for being hard to navigate. McKie’s response was that “with 14 programs, it is complicated. We are trying to make it better.” He generously offered up FACTOR’s hotel suite number at CMW, inviting anyone with concerns to drop by.

Both FACTOR and the OAC estimated that just one of 15 applicants received funding, but they stressed that their jury process includes constructive comments for unsuccessful applicants. They also emphasized that those seeking funding can apply to both.

McKie noted a recent change in FACTOR’s Artist Development program, in which the funding amount has been increased to $2000 from $1500, and with an easing of restrictions on how that money can be spent.

Adam provided details about the four different programs in the Ontario Music Fund and the eligibility requirements for each one.

The different city music sector officers outlined the steps they’re taking in making their cities more music-friendly, and stressed that they consult amongst  each other.

Tanner acknowledged that their 311 initiative in which callers to Toronto city hall’s phoneline hear music from local artists played was borrowed from Ottawa’s example. He also announced that the twice-monthly music performances at City Hall will move outside for the summer months.

In all, the Town Hall proved itself a worthy concept, one worthy of repetition.



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