On Monday (Dec. 9), the Liberty Grand in Toronto hosts the Unison Holiday Schmoozefest, now well-established as the music biz's go-to seasonal party.
To learn more about the history of the event and plans for next week's bash, we contacted Amanda Power, Executive Director of the music industry benevolent fund, Unison.
She stresses that "we’re so excited to bring the music community together and see this year’s vision for Holiday Schmoozefest come to life as a bigger and better event. The Unison team has been working hard, along with the team at Feldman Entertainment Partnerships, to make this an unforgettable holiday evening. "
"We encourage anyone who is on the fence to hurry and buy a ticket before it’s too late. Holiday Schmoozefest is known for being an incredibly fun event, bringing everyone in our community together. You’re guaranteed to see familiar faces and make new friends, all while experiencing a high-class event that benefits the music community. Tickets can be purchased here:
The event is now in its fifth year, with all four previous editions held at Spice Route. Power explains that "We loved our previous venue, but our numbers were growing beyond what ts walls could hold. The move to Liberty Grand has been an idea which we’re excited to see come to fruition. With the change in venue, we can accommodate more people, and encourage more members of our community to participate. The switch to a grander venue is elevating the event in a way that will make it a must-attend party on everyone’s holiday calendars."
The elements that have made the party such a success are back in place. The music is provided by its regular DJ, Brendan Canning (Broken Socal Scene), Fashion Santa will make a stylish return, and Canadian drag superstar and actor Tynomi Banks makes an appearance for Instagram worthy holiday photo-ops.
There will be a silent auction, with elite items including two days of studio time at the Bathouse Recording Studio, a Skydiggers house concert, a 1948 Massey Hall auditorium seat, delegate passes to the Junos, CMW and CCMAs, four seats in the Ticketmaster Lounge for a Blue Jays home game, and two courtside seats to the Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets. Door prizes include Apple Air Pods Pro, an Amazon Echo, Dr. Martens shoes, concert tickets, vinyl box sets, and more.
Power states "our conservative goal is to raise $40,000." That is likely to be surpassed, as last year's Holiday Schmoozefest brought in $50,000 (the first party, in 2015, netted $10,000).
Unison is highly appreciative of this generous support. "Our music community has always been so supportive of Unison’s efforts," says Power. "No one recognizes the importance of our services better than the very people we seek to help. Many individuals and companies have stepped in to help donate prizes for this event, and have enthusiastically bought tickets year after year.
"As awareness about Unison and our services continues to spread, however, there’s greater need for an increase in donations. This is why raising funds through events like Holiday Schmoozefest is so important, and why we need the entertainment industry to show up year after year. Not only is it a fun way to kick off the holiday season, but it’s an event that provides much-needed revenue for the life-saving services Unison offers to the music community.
"The awareness of Unison and our Financial Assistance and Counselling & Health Solutions programs has grown significantly in the past few years, but there is still room for growth. There are still many members of our community who are unaware of the help Unison can provide. Holiday Schmoozefest is the perfect way to build this awareness, as friends and peers invite others to come have a fun time and learn about Unison. We hope that people who engage with the event come back next year, support through donations, and spread the word about how Unison helps our community. "
Holiday Schmoozefest is a priority event for Unison, as Power explains. "It is one of our main fundraising events, along with the Unison Rocks Bonspiel, the Unison Charity Golf Tournaments, and third party events that help support Unison. All of these fundraising efforts are important, as together they make up the revenue that allows us to keep serving our music community. While we do spend a lot of time on Holiday Schmoozefest, all our fundraisers are crucial to our organization. That being said, Holiday Schmoozefest is certainly one of the most fun and rewarding events we get to work on all year!"
Sponsors for the 2019 Holiday Schmoozefest include: Warner Music Canada, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, RBC Foundation, SOCAN, Live Nation, Slaight Music, Entertainment One, Universe, Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex, Macklam Feldman Management, and Labatt.
Learn more about Unison here