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CMW 2023 - Cam Carpenter Does Music Week & The Festival

Well, another one is under my belt, and for the first time in many years, this Canadian Music Week felt like it was back to normal.

CMW 2023 - Cam Carpenter Does Music Week & The Festival

By Cam Carpenter

Well, another one is under my belt, and for the first time in many years, this Canadian Music Week felt like it was back to normal. Congratulations to Neill Dixon, Andrew Valle, Gary Taylor, Damien Nelson and the whole CMW team and volunteers for a great week at the old stomping grounds of the Westin Harbour Castle and venues across the city of Toronto.


Tuesday, June 6

After picking up my credentials Tuesday afternoon, it was off to the “Inside The Song” event at the Great Hall presented by Music Publishers Canada, CMRRA and The Junos. Hosted by Juno award-winning Hill Kourkoutis it featured conversation and music by Digging Roots, Aaron Paris, Brad Rempel and Dax while music during the breaks was supplied by DJ Obuxum. The stripped-down performances were fantastic, and the venue was packed. Spotted in the audience were artists  Daniel Lanois, Damhait Doyle, Serena Ryder as well as Apple’s Mike Lawless, Allan Reid from CARAS, CMRRA’s Paul Shaver, Peermusic’s Neville Quinlan and Mike Tanner from the City Of Toronto, as well as old friend Steve Kane. 

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Just down Queen Street West was the You Should Know mixer where I stopped by for a few minutes and was introduced to Laura Gennaro, Charlotte M and Victor Lana from the LyricFind team as well as up-and-coming local producer Xavier Nami.

At the Wheat Sheaf tavern, I caught great sets from Music Nova Scotia’s Andre Pettipas & The Giants and SaskMusic’s Dead Levee. Although I missed their early evening set it was nice to catch up with MusicBC rockers Spendo. 

Heading north on Bathurst I caught a set from Matt Kristan and caught up with Italy’s Damien McFly who performed at both Indie Week Manchester and Toronto back in 2018. 

At the Bovine I ran into artist/producer Moe Berg and saw a high-energy show by local self-proclaimed “decent punk rock band” The Bare Minimum.

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Wednesday, June 7

The first stop of the day was the Westin, and the first person I saw was Radiodays programmer (and my old XM Canada boss) Ross Davies. Had chats with new Anthem Records GM Andy Hawke, artist/songwriter Rosanne Baker Thornley, Spike Bulgaria founder Boyan Pinters, Peter Astedt from Future Echoes Sweden, Burlington Sound of Music Festival head Myles Rusak, Instinct’s Michael Perlmutter and Cymba’s Patrick Bunston,

The El Mocambo hosted the CMW kick-off party with iHeart Radio featuring sets from Shawn Desman, Virginia to Vegas, Alyssa Reid and Noelle. I caught up with Universal’s Shawn Marino, and old industry friends Scott Carmichael, Paul Jessop and Dana Pihach from the Coors Event Centre in Saskatoon. 

Thursday, June 8 

The first event of the day was the annual CCS Rights/Daytripper brunch hosted by company leader Jodie Ferneyhough and his team. Along with a great spread of food there were mimosa’s and caesars and a great intimate songwriter circle with performances by Carys, Blue In Tokio and Shawnee Kish. Enjoying the performances were Mursek’s Sebastian Mair, Slaight’s Andrew Martino, Samantha Pickard, manager Joe D’Ambrosia, India Coran from RPM Promotion, artist Amanda Rheaume, Zach McEwen-Jones from Indie Week, Catherine Jones, CultureCap’s Keely Kemp and What’s The Story publicist Beth Cavanagh. 

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A short ten-minute walk found us at Pennie’s for the Cadence Music Group + Disco 5th annual “Afternoon Shaker”. Hosted by Cadence President Iain Taylor, we mingled with artists Harm & Ease, Bleeker, Fiona Bevan, Angela Saini as well as Slaight Music's Derrick Ross and Barnaby Marshall, Evenko’s Patrick Guay, Katrina Balcius from Disco, Actra’s Linda Noelle Bush, producer Derek Hoffman, Tory Cassis from Paper Bag and Dennis Garces from Think Think Think 3. 

The “Smoking Room Only” showcase at The Horseshoe Tavern featured great performances by Black Paint, Tumble and Jin and it was great to run into industry veteran David MacMillan as well as Mobius Radio’s Dylan Hennessy. 

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The last stop of the day was The Bovine for a set by California rockers Waxy. It was great to see Revolver Films' Don Allan, Jim McCourtie from X 92.9 in Calgary, Rob Schwartz from Who?Mag, and Kevin Breuner from BandLab up on the rooftop Tiki Bar. 

Friday, June 9

The hotel lobby was really buzzing Friday morning where I ran into CMW’s International Promoter of the Year Michael Chugg with Chugg Entertainments May Ling Koh, Paquin’s Steve Butler, Adam Gill from Embrace, Bandzoggle’s Sandra Byars, Marek Hojda from Music Export Poland, Brad Gibb from Corus Radio and Chartmetric’s Chaz Jenkins.

CIMA Music & Tixr present an afternoon Happy Hour at the St. Patrick Street office where we saw artists Julian Taylor and Mikhail Layton, as well as Ottawa lawyer Dave Davis, publicity legend Joanne Smale, Six Shooter’s Shauna de Cartier and Helen Britton, Tony Tarleton from Acronym Records, City of London’s Cory Crossman, CIMA’s Trish Carter and Emy Stantcheva, Michelle Holtzkener and Noah Gruneir from Ontario, Creates and Tim Des Islets from Noisemaker. 

There were a lot of great performances Friday night. I hopped in Saskatoon band Autopilot’s van for a trip up to The Painted Lady for their set and then walked around the corner to The Garrison to catch sets from Toronto’s A Short Walk To Pluto and Montreal’s The Damn Truth (managed by Ralph Alfonso).

I made it just in time to The Bovine to see The Anti-Queens as part of the Stomp Records showcase and caught up with Stomp’s Mike Magee. I also ran into Dearly Beloved who had just performed at Lee’s Palace and CMW Festival Manager Andrew Valle. Colin Mills, Music Professor at Algonquin College in Ottawa was also spotted in the crowd.

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Saturday, June 10 

At the hotel, I spent some time with Kyle Wilton from Excuses, Excuses, local band Voodoo Shakedown, Andrea Morris from AM to FM Promotions, Dot Hip Hop’s Monte Cahn, Andrew Harvey from King’s Road Merch and had a brief catch-up with producer Bob Ezrin. 

The last official stop of the week was the CD Baby Post CMW Myxer presented by LyricFind and Quboz. During the party at the Tiki Bar, we saw German promoter Michael Bisping, Nicholas Mishko from 8 and 10 management in Cleveland, Anastasiya Struk from Montreal, local promoter Yvonne Matsell, FYI and Billboard’s Karen Bliss, CMW’s Neill Dixon, artist Don Graham, David Hazan from DHL Marketing in New York and LyricFind’s Zach Werner. Unbeknownst to me the event was also a surprise party for my birthday, Heartfelt thanks to Darryl Hurs from CD Baby and Indie Week for honouring me. Also thanks Darryl Fine at the Bovine for being a co-conspirator.

That’s it for this year; looking forward to CMW 42!

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Billie Eilish performs during Music Midtown 2023 at Piedmont Park on Sept. 16, 2023 in Atlanta.
Nykieria Chaney/Getty Images for ABA

Billie Eilish performs during Music Midtown 2023 at Piedmont Park on Sept. 16, 2023 in Atlanta.

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