Published Oct 16, 2008Well, now that the Conservatives have secured another minority government, it appears those millions of dollars worth of arts cuts are here to stay. As a consequence, this has put, and will likely continue to put, a whole lot of Canadian artists and government-funded events at a very crucial crossroad, forcing festivals like the Western Canadian Music Awards to rethink their business model.
In an Edmonton Journal article published today (October 16), Rick Fenton, executive director of the Western Canadian Music Alliance, discussed the many questions now surrounding the organization because of the cuts and the impact they will have on the annual WCMAs, which kick off today in Edmonton and feature 138 artists from B.C., the Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Fenton told the newspaper that when the cuts come into play next year they will have a profound effect on next WCMAs in Brandon, MB, adding that, while federal arts funding only made up a small percentage of the event's budget, it was crucial.
In past years, as well as this year, the alliance used government funds to help fly in talent buyers and A&R scouts from other countries, which often led to Western Canadian artists securing international tours and/or record deals. For example, last year 36 of the musicians at the WCMAs were invited to perform at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX.
"We have a huge number of success stories and the bottom line is: for every artist that we have had that succeeded, that's cost $354 per artist," Fenton said. "That's cheap. That's a good business model."
However, now this model and the WCMAs themselves may be in jeopardy come cut time.
To see a full list of the artists appearing at this years WCMAs, a full schedule is available at the events website here.