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Music News Digest, Aug. 4, 2022

Festivals news

– The Manifesto festival of music, arts and youth culture celebrates its 16th edition in Toronto, Aug. 8-13, highlighted by the Aug. 12 concert at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage. Just announced as joining Grammy-winning star Jazmine Sullivan at the show is the hit OVO-signed R&B duo dvsn. Manifesto has also announced the FSTVL SZN artist showcase hosted by Mista Dre, featuring sets by K.Forest, Sage Harris, Justine Tyrell, and DJ Shannyn Hill. It takes place on Aug. 11 at the El Mocambo.  

– The Harvest Home Festival was developed by PEI’s roots music favourites The East Pointers in 2020, but the pandemic forced a cancellation last year. Group member Koady Chaisson tragically passed away in Jan., but his comrades have carried on and have come up with a strong bill for the 2022 fest. Running Sept. 23 and 24 at the Rollo Bay Fiddle Grounds near Souris, PEI., the line-up includes Matt Andersen & The Big Bottle of Joy, Reeny Smith, Kaia Kater, Morgan Toney, Mi’kmaq Legends, Andy Shauf, Ria Mae, Villages, Rosier, and Kierrah. Tix and passes here 

–The opening night at Hamilton's popular (and free) Festival of Friends last Friday was a strong one. Kicking the evening off were local rockers Golden Feather, a comparatively new band comprising some seasoned veterans, including Brad Germain (Marble Index) and Steve Kiely (Monster Truck). The group's material features Grateful Dead-style jams alongside tunes with a real '70s FM yacht rock vibe, with tinges of funk and Steely Dan. Guest sax added to the already full sound the quintet delivers. A recent signing with Sonic Unyon is helping the band make a splash, and veteran Hamilton Spectator scribe Graham Rockingham tips the band as the Hamilton act most likely to break through next, and we concur.



After a set by soulful popster Ryland James, headliner Serena Ryder took the stage and quickly engaged the audience. She was accompanied only by the ace rhythm section of Brian Kobayakawa and Josh von Tassell, but her powerful voice and strong strange presence didn't need further bolstering. Sprinkled in with some of her hits were plenty of songs from her recent Juno-winning album, The Art Of Falling Apart, prefaced with candid reflections on her mental health journey. It was lovely to see an energized and happy Ryder in such fine form.

–  The Habari Africa Festival, presented by the Batuki Music Society, takes place at Harbourfront in Toronto this weekend (Aug. 5-7). The free event is a multidisciplinary art and music festival that explores Africa's rich and diverse cultures. More info here

Industry news

– The Unison Fund has announced that online portal applications for its Live Music Workers Fund is being temporarily suspended until Sept. 1, "due to the overwhelming volume of new applications, over 3,000." More info here.

– MMF Canada is seeking candidates to run in the fall 2022 election of its board of directors. Managers and self-managed artists from all genres, all parts of Canada, and from all levels of experience are welcome. There are eight seats up for election. Four nominees will be elected to a full three-year term and another four nominees will be elected to a two-year term. Self-nominations are accepted here until Aug. 14 here

– MusicNL, The Rooms, and The Association for New Canadians have partnered to present Global Music at The Rooms. Every Wed, in August (at 7 pm), three musicians will showcase their talent and share their culture at The Rooms Amphitheatre. This free series is designed to increase the engagement and celebration of immigrant musicians in the province. Each week will also feature a secret local guest. Lineup details here.

– The renowned Dream Serenade charitable concert will return to Toronto’s Massey Hall on Nov. 12 to support children with developmental and/or physical disabilities and their caregivers. The annual show began in 2014 as a way for musician Hayden Desser and his wife Christie Greyerbiehl to help support Beverley Street School, where their daughter attends, but has since grown to raise awareness and funds for respite and summer camp bursaries. Dream Serenade has also worked with local teachers and social workers to support 36 GTA families with grocery vouchers in partnership with the Food4Kids program. Lineup details to follow. More info here. Source: Samaritan

– The online music conference Music Pro Summit 2022 will run from Sept. 6-8, featuring 25+ sessions, 50+ speakers, B2Bs, breakouts, meet-ups and more! Hear from industry professionals announced as speakers include John Parikhal (Breakthrough Management), Hill Kourkoutis (Producer), Andrea England (CMRRA), Dale Penner (Paradise Alley Productions), David Hazan (DLH Strategic Marketing), Mark Frieser (Sync Summit LA), Rebecca Helgeson (Found.ee), Wes Walls (Bandzoogle), Mike Pell (Microsoft Garage), Darryl Hurs (Indie Week) Jeff Rogers (Handsome Boy), and Jesse Kirshbaum (NUE Agency). More info here.

– Noted Toronto music venue Grossman’s Tavern has announced its annual Amy Louie / Grossman's Music Scholarship and fundraiser event will return there on Sept. 27. The ALGMS is an artist development bursary that provides two musicians or bands from the Greater Toronto Area $2K and $1K  respectively, to help with career development. ALGMS applications are officially open here, with a Sept. 16 deadline. Previous recipients of the Scholarship include Dan McKinnon, Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes, Chloe Watkinson & Park Eddy, and Jerome Godboo.

–  Sad news for Toronto roots music fans is word that the non-profit Hugh's Room Live org has come up short in its bid to purchase the historic church located at 296 Broadview as its new permanent home for Hugh’s Room Live. About $1.5M in pledges for bonds and donations was raised, Toronto City Council agreed to a loan guarantee of up to $2.2M, and Isadore Sharp, the founder of Four Seasons Hotels made a major commitment, but the lack of government support proved fatal. HRL remains committed to still pursuing a permanent home, while still programming at other venues.

– Toronto's global music superstars seem to be jinxed when it comes to big hometown shows. Last month's planned Rogers Centre stadium concert by The Weeknd had to be postponed at the last minute because of the fiasco of Rogers' network shutdown, two planned Scotiabank Arena shows by Shawn Mendes this week were cancelled, and earlier this week Drake had to postpone his Young Money Reunion show (with Lil' Wayne and Nicki Minaj)  after contracting Covid. At least Drake's all-star Canadian hip-hop/R&B show at Toronto's History went off without a hitch and was reportedly a triumph.

 – As frontman of '80s Queen Street faves Pukka Orchestra, Graeme Williamson was a beloved figure on the Toronto scene. He later returned to his Scottish homeland and passed away two years ago. Solo work he recorded is thankfully now surfacing on a new album, Because You Were There, out Aug. 5. It is preceded by the single Hunger, one with a message that sadly remains timely.

– Pheromone Recordings recently announced the signing of Tommy Lefroy, a London-based female songwriter, producer and artist duo comprising Wynter Bethel and Tessa Mouzourakis, Here's the video for a new single.

 Canadian singer/songwriter Olivia Lunny's first-ever collaboration on an original song, Vibe Check, features Bhad Bhabie and is out via Infinity & Recordings (Universal Music Canada).

– The ever-entertaining jazz chanteuse Lesley Mitchell-Clarke and her group The Melo-Tonins have a matinee (4.30 start) at Toronto's Emmet Ray on Aug. 7. Recommended. 

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