Music News

Music News Digest: Historic Muskoka Venue The KEE To Bala's Summer Lineup, Canadian Sync Awards & More

Our weekly news roundup also features a Canadian Musicians For Ceasefire anthem, Stratford's OnRush Festival, CIMA's Road Gold Certification and more.

Smashing Pumpkins, one of the band's announced for The KEE to Bala's 2024 season

Smashing Pumpkins, one of the band's announced for The KEE to Bala's 2024 season

Courtesy Photo

Awards News

Produced by The Guild of Music Supervisors, Canada (GMSC) and Canadian Music Week (CMW), the 2024 Canadian Sync Awards will take place on June 3, 2024 at The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. These awards celebrate music supervisor excellence and the sync community across Canada, and early bird tickets are available here now until April 30. Information about submissions for nominations, performers and other details will be announced shortly.

– The Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAOntario) has announced the nominees for the 12th Annual CMAOntario Awards,presented by Slaight Music. Jade Eagelson leads with five nominations, followed by The Reklaws, Josh Ross, Meghan Patrick and Karli June with four nods each. Check here for nominees.


The awards show will be held on June 2 at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, co-hosted by country star Jason McCoy and TikTok sensation Teigen Gayse. The event closes out the CMAOntario Festival & Awards Weekend May 31-June 2. The CMAOntario Awards will hand out trophies across 17 categories plus special awards. Tickets for the Awards Show are on sale now.

Festivals News

The inaugural OnRush Festival in Stratford, ON, runs April 4-7, beginning with an opening headline performance by noted singer-songwriter Emm Gryner at The Bunker Performance Lounge & Cafe. Multiple other Stratford venues host shows by Bedouin Soundclash, Barry James Payne & String Bone, Cabin Fever, James Blonde, Jessica Sevier, Mandippal Jandu, Sharron Katz, Soul Motivators, Zuffalo and more. Tickets and info here.

Industry News

The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) has announced its partnership with Tixr, the privately-held primary ticketing and live event commerce marketplace, as their official Road Gold Certification partner. Established in 2015, CIMA's Road Gold Certification program recognizes the dedication of Canadian touring artists who expand their fan bases through public performances. Artists achieve Road Gold certification by demonstrating significant ticket sales during Canadian tours over any 12-month period. Previous winners include The Arkells, The Glorious Sons and Brett Kissel.


Andrew Cash, President and CEO of CIMA, stated, "We welcome Tixr as a valuable ally in supporting the growth of touring artists and the live event industry as a whole." Tixr clients include Sonic Unyon, Sonic Concerts, Noisemaker Presents, Jackson-Triggs Amphitheatre and Area 506.

The KEE to Bala is an historic and beloved music venue in Ontario’s Muskoka region. Bought by Live Nation last year, it has just announced the lineup for shows there this summer, and some international and Canadian heavyweights are listed. Heading the imports are Smashing Pumpkins and Sean Paul, while the Canadian contingent includes Metric, 54-40, Big Wreck, Kim Mitchell, The Glorious Sons, The Beaches, Josh Ross, Sam Roberts Band, Loud Luxury, April Wine, The Trews, Sheepdogs and Tim Hicks. Concerts will run from May 18 to Sept. 1. General sale tickets are up on March 29 here.

– It came out a month ago, but a star-studded video by Musicians for Ceasefire remains timely, given the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Written by East Coast music power couple Jenn Grant and Daniel Ledwell, “Hello Everyone (Ceasefire Now)” features over 35 artists from across Canada, Australia and the U.K.. That list includes Aquakulture, Catherine MacLellan, Christine Fellows, John K. Samson, Justin Rutledge, Joshua Van Tassel, Sarah Slean, Terra Lightfoot, the Once, Tim Chaisson, Caroline Marie Brooks, Ken Yates and Irish Mythen. All proceeds to Palestine Red Crescent. Find it on Bandcamp here.


Lorraine Segato (Parachute Club) has curated another instalment in her popular Wild Women Cabaret series. This one comes to Base 31, Prince Edward County, Ontario, on April 13, and it celebrate songs made famous by Canadian women songwriters. Special guests include Martha Chaves, Kathryn Rose, Jennarie, Diane Leah and Lauren Falls, with Segato and her music director Colleen Allen co-hosting. Tickets here.


– Long a rather well-kept secret on the Toronto scene, Jordan John now gets a major career boost as the newly-hired frontman/singer in veteran American funk band Tower of Power. Word is that the son of local legend Prakash John (Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, The Lincolns) is fitting in just fine.

– Last week, noted U.S. world music label Putumayo released Caribbean Celebration, a compilation album of songs from international artists with Caribbean roots. Canada is well-represented by Jean Jean Roosevelt, Daniel Bellegarde, Wesli and Roger Gibbs and Shak Shak. Check it out on Bandcamp.

– Music promoter Andrea Morris has announced the return of her AM to FM Live! series, April 18 at Art Bay TO in Toronto (an early evening show). The featured performers are singer-songwriters Jennifer Brant, who will sing in both her native Mohawk language and in English, and Gentle Sparrow. Complimentary cocktails will be available. RSVP here.

Artists News

– On April 4, hard rock faves The Dirty Nil release a deluxe edition of 2023 album, Free Rein to Passions, via Dine Alone Records. Here is a new cut.

– Canadian queer alt-pop artist Adaline has released her new EP Hymnal. She recently performed in Berlin and at SXSW, and has a Toronto release show at The Baby G on March 28, followed by a virtual release show on April 7, and further U.S. dates. Tickets here.

– Toronto-based new wave combo Pukka Orchestra made a splash in the '80s and '90s prior to disbanding. Fans will be pleased to learn that a new album, Chaos Is Come Again, has just come out, and it features updated, reworked, remixed, and remastered tracks from earlier recordings that never received a proper release. The group's singer/writer Graeme Williamson died in 2020. Here is a new single, "Every Man and Woman is a Star."


– Prolific Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Philip 'Pip' Kummel has just released his 30th album, Every City (the title references his nomadic past). He will host a listening party/social gathering at The Mule Spinner in Hamilton on March 28, at 5 p.m. Check the album out here.

AP Dhillon smashing his guitar at Coachella

AP Dhillon smashing his guitar at Coachella


AP Dhillon Drops Off Coachella's Second Weekend

The Punjabi-Canadian star has faced backlash in Indian media and on social media for his guitar smash on weekend one, but the festival says he's cancelling due to scheduling conflicts.

AP Dhillon is leaving the California desert behind. Coachella announced that the Punjabi-Canadian star will not appear at the festival's second weekend as planned, citing scheduling conflicts. The festival announced it in a follow up tweet to one announcing that rapper Kid Cudi has been added.

While Dhillon's first-weekend performance was well-received by the Coachella crowd and many of his supporters, he's also had some backlash due to how he closed his set, which has been widely covered by media in India.

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