The “ECMA’s” are back in Sydney this week, rebranded as the Eastlink East Coast Music Week, and that means days and days and days of enjoying some of the East Coast’s best music, and suffering from nights and nights and nights of enjoying some of the East Coast’s best music. There are showcases in a wide variety of genres, awards to be handed out, celebrations and belly-aching, old favourites and new discoveries and, no doubt, a few hangovers here and there.
Awards have already been handed out in a dozen categories. Among the winners are Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, picking up Traditional Instrumental Recording of the Year and Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year during Thursday night’s 2016 Eastlink East Coast Music Awards Show at Centre 200 in Sydney. The duo also performed at the ceremonies, along with fellow Cape Bretoners Heather Rankin and Ashley MacIsaac, who hosted the show, and Bruce Guthro who participated in a special tribute to the late Ron Hynes, with Lennie Gallant, Amelia Curran, The Ennis Sisters, Ken Tizzard, Paul “Boomer” Stamp, Sandy Morris, Paul Kinsman, and Glenn Simmons. The Loud Recording of the Year was awarded during the Loud Stage showcase at the Branch 12 Legion.
Four awards will be presented tonight—Rock Recording, Rising Star, Country, and Rap/Hip-Hop—during showcases at The Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion, Branch 12 Legion, the Steel City and Capri Cabaret. Country Recording of the Year nominees Pretty Archie will be playing at the Country and Rising Star showcases. Other Cape Breton acts in ECMW showcases tonight include Dave Sampson on the UPS Rock Stage, Nuallan during the Celtic Colours Festival Club at Membertou Trade & Convention Centre, Jordan Musycsyn on the Folk Stage at the Highland Arts Theatre, and Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald in the Warmer Music Roots Room at Membertou Trade and Convention Centre. You can find a full list of ECMW events here.
CBC’s Mainstreet Cape Breton, hosted by Wendy Bergfeldt, will be broadcast to the Atlantic Provinces on Friday from the Highland Arts Theatre in Sydney. The line up will feature performances by Cape Breton musicians Black & Grey, Port Cities, and Jordan Musycsyn.
There’s also what’s become known as no-cases which got their start here in 1995 as a place to play if you didn’t get a show. Never mind the politics of the day, it has grown into an important side effect / spin off to the betterment of the development of the music. And speaks highly of the strong local music community and so-called all ages scene here. Artists from all over the East Coast will be performing at venues all over town. You can find a list of events here.
And if you don’t want to go out on this cold, grey day, tune in to Radio ECMA for live performances and interviews with musicians, industry professionals, and more. Introduced during ECMA 2000 in Sydney, Radio ECMA broadcasts live from Governor’s Pub & Eatery in Sydney. Presented by MacDonald Auto Group, Radio ECMA produces The Opportunity Stage, which will feature more than 100 performances, broadcasting 24 hours a day until Sunday.
And you can catch the showcases from the comfort of home, hotel room or cold glow of your favourite device by tuning in to ECMA TV. Produced by NovaStream and presented by Destination Cape Breton, ECMA TV is a four-channel live web stream that showcases performances throughout the week from the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, Highland Arts Theatre, Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion, Capri Cabaret, The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 12 and the Steel City Sports Bar & Steakhouse. Tune in to watch the events streamed live or watch archived video after the event is finished. Events available on ECMA TV include the Folk Stage, Celtic Colours Festival Club, UPS Rock Stage, Molson Late Night Stage: Hip-Hop Showcase, Bluebird North Stage, Warner Music Roots Room, Folk, Rock Stage, Molson Late Night Stage: Electronic Showcase, Industry Awards Reception, and the Songwriters’ Circle. ECMA TV is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.