In Roman mythology, Juno was best known as the patron goddess of Rome and protector of the state. In popular culture, Juno is an indie film. However, Canadians typically associate Juno with the Juno Awards, held annually to honour the best of our nation's music.
The Juno Awards were first held in Toronto in 1970--then known as the Gold Leaf Awards--organized by record label head Stan Klees and RPM Magazine founder Walt Grealis. The awards were renamed the Junos in 1971, a shortened homage to inaugural CRTC head Pierre Juneau, and became a Canadian cultural staple. The ceremony left the cozy confines of Toronto in 1991 to travel the nation and this year have arrived in Calgary. Calgary Arts Development president/CEO Terry Rock sits on the host committee and says the push to bring the awards to town began several years ago.
"It was in 2005 that we originally started and the pitch committee started meeting," remembers Rock. "We put the team together and took a bunch of people just kind of pitching in to see what was happening. From there, everyone who was interested got together and we invited a few more people who knew big events. We had some planning sessions and then scoped out a budget and had some key events that we were going to undertake and sort of built a team from there."
Historically, Calgary is known as a city with a great deal of volunteer spirit, with the 1988 Olympics being famed for its many volunteers. Not unexpectedly, the Juno Awards have also had tremendous community support.
"There was a group of about 20 people with our total planning committee," notes Rock. "That committee then grew with sub-committees to between 50 and 80 at various points. Now we've got over 1,000 volunteers all engaged this weekend. We actually had double or more the number of volunteers [we needed.] Some people were disappointed because they weren't able to participate as volunteers."
Similar to how the Calgary Stampede captures the city in cowboy spirit, Rock says the organizers hope the Junos energizes Calgarians about Canadian music. To that end, the city will be transformed over the awards weekend into a musical wonderland. The centrepiece of the effort is Junofest.
"Junofest is a Juno Awards event," says Rock. "They actually hired a local producer, Greg Curtis from the U of C, [who] put a team together and a committee to pick artists and those kinds of things. He was also on the host committee as an advisor, so he's been involved in all of the planning. It was a good link between us and the Juno Awards in terms of having our vision be part of Junofest. If you look at the lineup for Junofest, it's so good. Calgary's really showing up in it as well."
The rest of Juno Awards weekend features a wide array of events spanning Calgary's various music venues as well as more unique settings, such as the airport. The festivities surrounding over the weekend are aimed that ensuring that the average Calgarian's Juno experience isn't limited to watching the show on CTV, but rather getting them to enjoy as much music as they can.
"Our number-one objective was to engage as many people as possible," states Rock. "This is the biggest city that's hosted the Juno Awards since it left Toronto. We've got a lot of people to let know what's happening and get excited about Canadian music. Right now it starts when you fly into Calgary; as part of the awards, there's live music at the airport and has been for the whole month of March. We're having surprise concerts this week on C-Trains, so you're going to be able to go on the train and have a ride with good music. We're just doing whatever we can to get as many people engaged as possible."
The 2008 Juno Awards air Sun., Apr. 6 beginning at 6 p.m. on CTV. The eTalk Daily at the Junos special begins at 5 p.m. The ceremony's at the Saddledome.
Musicians in Motionï¿½"Fri., Apr. 5 and Sat., Apr. 6 from 12ï¿½"2 p.m.
Juno fever has even infected public transit. Local musicians like Michael Bernard Fitzgerald will be playing
45-minute acoustic sets on the C-Train, a great opportunity to take out the headphones and be entertained by live music. At the very least it will definitely add a new dynamic to those crowded moments on the C-Train. Granted, the C-Train isnâ€™t especially crowded at
1:15 p.m. on a Saturday.
Free outdoor concert at Olympic Plazaï¿½"Thu., Apr. 3 from 5ï¿½"11 p.m.
Free concerts are a pretty sweet deal. This free Thu. concert is the perfect way to start out the rockingest weekend in Calgary. Starting at 5 p.m. bands like the Dudes and Sloan will take to the stage at Olympic Plaza for a free show. Other acts include lesser known upstarts like Finger Eleven and Bedouin Soundclash.
Juno Cupï¿½"Fri., Apr. 5 starting at 7:30 p.m.
Hockey greats and music geeks fight it out on at the 2008 Juno Cup in the Stampede Corral. On the side of the hockey vets are Doug Gilmour and Paul Coffey against music mavericks like Aaron Lines and Shout Out Out Out Outâ€™s Gravyï¿½"yes folks, thatâ€™s what his jersey will sayï¿½"on the side of the Rockers. Tickets only cost $15 at Ticketmaster.
Juno Fan Fareï¿½"Sat., Apr. 6 from
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hob-nob with your favourite musicians at the Olympic Oval. With bands like illScarlett and Hedley, as well as singers like Joel Plaskett and rapper Belly, every fan of every genre will be quite pleased. Itâ€™s free to attend and the doors open at 9 a.m. Itâ€™s on a first-come, first-served basisï¿½"so be sure to get there early to avoid long lineups.
Songwriterâ€™s Circleï¿½"Sun., Apr. 7 from noon to 2 p.m.
The lights go down in the Jack Singer Concert Hall at EPCOR Centre Sun. at noon as numerous
Canadian songwriters, including Albertaâ€™s own Corb Lund and Tegan Quinn (of Tegan and Sara fame), tell stories and sing songs about their experience as singer-songwriters. After the two nights of drinking and partying at Junofest, the more intimate setting of the Songwriterâ€™s Circle is a rare treat indeed. $35ï¿½"40 at Ticketmaster.
Even though most of the buzz about the Junos is devoted to the big name celebrities, itâ€™s all about the music man. Pick up a $30 wristband if you want to traipse all around downtown to check out the greatest bands that Canada has to offer, or if an individual show tickles your fancy you can hit that venue up for $10. Here are some of the best acts to check out.
Hip-Hop Showï¿½"Fri., Apr. 5,
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
While the Underground is the place for the rockers, the DJs and the rappers ride into the Underground for an epic night of hip-hop. Featuring local acts like Dragon Fli Empire and Skratch Bastid as well as DJ Alie and Deezuz, take a moment out of watching the wanky indie kids to check out this show.
Wintersleepï¿½"Fri., Apr. 5 at midnight
The great Halifax band comes back to Calgary, coming to the indiest of venuesï¿½"the Republikï¿½"Fri. at midnight. If you want to stay the night, you can check
out local act Jane Vain and the Dark Matter afterward.
Pride Tigerï¿½"Fri., Apr. 5 at midnight
Sometimes, you just want to rock the fuck out. With their midnight show at the Warehouse, prepare your best rock-out face and get ready to pump your fist in the air as the Vancouver hard-rockers come out to see the Calgary crowd-surfing scene.
Indie Rock Nightï¿½"Sat., Apr. 6, 10 p.m. at 1 a.m.
If you find yourself clad in the latest American Apparel couture Pitchfork Media pack into the Republik on Sat. for the indiest night at the Junos. Local groups like Remote Kid, Axis of Conversation play at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. with Most Serene Republic rocking the Republik at midnight. Then screw off to go see the Sadies.
The Sadiesï¿½"Sat., Apr. 6 at 1 a.m.
Everything at the Junos tends to be a little bit rock â€˜nâ€™ roll, even though Calgary is a bit of a cowboy town. Worry not, square-dancers! The Sadies alt-country crooning is perfect for the second show at Broken City on Sat.
Album of the Year
Avril Lavgine--The Best Damn Thing
Celine Dion--Taking Chances
Michael BublÃ©--Call Me Irresponsible
Anne Murray--Duets: Friends and Legends
Alternative Album of the Year
Arcade Fireï¿½"Neon Bible
Patrick Watson--Close to Paradise
Tegan and Sara--The Con
Wintersleep--Welcome to the Night Sky
Group of the Year
International Album of the Year
Bon Jovi--Lost Highway
Rhianna--Good Girl Gone Bad
Timbaland--Timbaland Presents Shock Value
For a rundown of all the nominees, head to junoawards.ca. 500 additional tickets for the Sun. awards ceremony will be made available Sat. morning at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster.