Hillsburn with show host Maestro Fresh Wes.
Hillsburn with show host Maestro Fresh Wes.

ECMAs Nothing Short Of A Thundering Success

Halifax-based pop quartet Hillsburn took the lead, winning three trophies for its third indie album, Slipping Away, at the East Coast Music Awards in Fredericton on May 5. Conception Bay South, NL country singer Mallory Johnson, Cape Breton electro-pop duo Paragon Cause, Cape Breton Mi'kmaq fiddler and singer Morgan Toney, and Halifax singer-songwriter Zamani (Ibrahim) each won two apiece.

The awards, hosted by Saint John resident Maestro Fresh Wes, and staged at the city U’s Aitken Centre, attracted a full house of 4,000 fans and music industry delegates as part of a five-day shindig that filled 14 stages around the city, collectively pulling in 12,000 paying patrons and, according to one report, pumping as much as $6M into city’s eateries, clubs and hotels.

With hard-ticket shows to see the likes of New Brunswick vedette Patsy Gallant, and a series of genre-specific showcases featuring country, Indigenous, classical, jazz and folk ensembles, the town was held captive by the major influx of much-welcomed out-of-towners who revelled and raved in the normally sedate provincial capital.

All in, 500 artists representing 150 acts played in 11 venues around the city during the festivities.

The addition of over 100 talent buyers attending from Europe, the US and Canada added real cred to the event and was of significant benefit to managers, agents and acts registered as ECMA participants.

And for ECMA CEO Andy McLean, the chance to beat the lockdown that shut down the annual last year was exhausting but yielded a high that he was still coming down from mid this week. The success of this year’s ECMAs bodes well for CMW, which relaunches on June 6, and for the Breakout West which re-emerges in Calgary on Sept. 28.

A complete list of Music and Industry award winners can be found here.

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