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THE ROAD TO BREAKOUT WEST – AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AN ESSENTIAL EVENT

By: Taron Cochrane

Previously taking over the Queen City in 2012, Breakout West (a four-day event featuring a four day music conference, multi-genre festival and the Western Canadian Music Industry Awards Brunch and Western Canadian Music Awards Show) is set to return to Regina’s mighty shores October 13 – 16, 2016.

Hosted by the Western Canadian Music Alliance to promote and celebrate Western Canadian music; BreakOut West won’t just shine the national spotlight on our city and province, it will act as a catalyst for many local artists eager to build and establish on a career in the industry.

A stepping stone for worldwide Saskatchewan success stories such as The Sheepdogs, BreakOut West provides artists the unique ability to showcase in front of thousands while also networking with hundreds of music industry delegates. The perfect opportunity for our City and our musicians to prove yet again why Regina continues to be regarded as a welcoming and vibrant hub for arts and culture.

In anticipation of the return of BreakOut West, we will be sharing a weekly guide to help you navigate through all of the many opportunities that this exciting event plans to offer.  We hope you enjoy the ride and can’t wait to celebrate our vibrant Western Canadian music industry with you all!

WEEK THREE – THE AWARDS

Celebrating and recognizing Western Canadian music, the upcoming 14th annual awards show is the flagship event of BreakOut West and in years past has been the grand finale to an unforgettable weekend that featured the conference and festival (as covered in previous blogs).  What makes the 2016 event stand out are a few key shifts in programming starting off with the fact that the awards show will actually be kicking everything off on Thursday, October 13th at the Casino Regina, along with, a stronger focus being placed on more musical performances and less award presentations.  

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Hosted by headliner, Brett Kissel – a hugely successful Alberta country artist and current 3 time Western Canadian Music Award nominee – the awards show will also feature appearances by Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, David Morin, William Prince, Diyet, Justin Lacroix, Lexi Strate and sole Saskatchewan performers, Saskatoon’s own Rosie and the Riveters.

Certainly no stranger to awards and awards shows, host Brett Kissel also shined recently during the CCMAs where he was crowned the ‘King of Canadian Country’ after winning his third Interactive Artist of the Year award along with awards for Male Artist of the Year and Fan Favourite.  Deserving wins for a very talented Western Canadian artist who has been proving time and time again that national success is possible when you combine hard work and passion with dedication and a kind-hearted approach to simply doing what you love!

Another key aspect of the awards show is the induction of a significant and notable contributor to the Western Canadian music scene into their Hall of Fame.  This year, Regina born blues rock legend, the world renowned Colin James will be inducted while also co-headlining the show alongside Brett Kissel.  An honour shared with 2012 Regina inductees, The Northern Pikes – this recognition couldn’t come at a better time for Colin James who is also celebrating 30 years as a full time musician and songwriter.  Three decades of successes that have seen him cover countless genres (blues, rock, neo swing, big band and acoustic), receive Gold record status and even perform for Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Saskatchewan in 2005.

Tying into the fact that BreakOut West truly is the pinnacle event for celebrating Western Canadian music – the curtain will be pulled back and on Saturday, October 15th the music industry will be centre stage for the Industry Awards brunch taking place at the host hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton.  Focusing on everything from community excellence to impact in music marketing, excellence in visual design and impact in artist development – the industry awards are a great way to recognize all of those people and organizations behind-the-scenes who continue to help our local music industry grow and prosper.

The 2016 industry awards brunch will also see the late Derek Bachman of Saskatchewan receive the Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award.  A fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to Saskatchewan music!

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Photo courtesy of Matt Ramage

Derek Bachman was an extremely involved and dedicated member of the Canadian music industry for nearly 20 years, and worked on several of the largest events in Saskatchewan, for Live Nation Canada and Union Events among others. He served as a director on numerous boards, and was instrumental in the success and development of SaskMusic, the Western Canadian Music Awards, Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, the 2007 JUNO Awards and the 2012 Canadian Country Music Week Host Committee. Derek was also a partner in Rawk Entertainment Inc., with his production credits on local, national and international events including JunoFest 2007/2013, Western Canadian Music Awards Festival 2007/2012, and 2013 Canadian Country Music Week. Derek was also responsible for export and professional development for Saskatchewan musicians and industry members, both nationally and internationally. Tragically Derek’s life was cut short, but the foundation he built in his home province of Saskatchewan and throughout Canada thrives, building on the foundation he set in place.

In anticipation of BreakOut West returning to Regina – they are now also holding a contest for a chance to win $100 Mortise & Tenon gift card, $100 Capitol gift card, 2 passes to the RCMP Heritage Centre, two festival wristbands, and a a Roca House gift card. To enter and to find more details, please visit the BreakOut West website Sept. 19 – Sept. 22.

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* For more information and the full list of award nominees.
* Hear music from many of the nominees by following breakoutwest on Spotify.
* For news and updates, follow BreakOut West on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and by using the official hash tag #BOW2016

Read more on The Road to BreakOut West – An Essential Guide to an Essential Event

Week 1 – The Conference
Week 2 – The Festival