Looking for the light

I was going to tackle a more contentious topic today, diving into an issue which has already elicited lots of passionate discussion and strong opinions from across the music industry spectrum. And I will, at some point, write that blog post. But today doesn't feel like the day to add extra contention to the world. So instead I'm choosing to focus on some positives.

Despite the apparent tendency to dwell ad nauseam on the worst-possible COVID-related scenarios - and despite the very real, serious and ongoing COVID-related challenges to the arts - we do seem to be heading in the right direction. Reopening plans are in place; across the country (where permits for public events have not been cancelled) my jazz festival colleagues have made plans for outdoor events, at reduced capacity. And south of the border, it's been heartening to see fuller venues, with plans to be at 100% capacity later this summer. Conversations with agents and artists are starting up again. We have a ways to go before we're back to any sort of "normal", but I'm going to take these as hopeful signs.

The Canadian music industry is in full virtual party mode this week for the 50th anniversary of the JUNOs. No doubt, it's not what the organizers had hoped it would be, but I've been feeling an air of celebration in the coverage and the notifications I've seen, and I'm looking forward to feting the award winners after this weekend's festivities wrap up. Congratulations again to all of the nominees, and especially those in jazz categories. (Stay up to date at junoawards.ca; you can read more about the jazz nominees with this piece by JAZZ.FM91.)

This past Wednesday, in a webinar co-hosted by CIMA and ADVANCE, Ian Andre Espinet and David "Click" Cox, who initiated the excellent Breaking Down Racial Barriers (BDRB) series last summer, officially introduced the BDRB declaration to end anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry. It was a celebratory affair, with an enormous turnout, from all facets of the industry, from across the country. But it was also a stark reminder of how much work we - me personally, as an organization, as a sector - have to do in order to bring equity to the industry. Kudos to everyone involved for the enormous amount of time, energy and effort required to bring this to life - Ian and David; the 60 panelists who contributed to the 10-week BDRB series; and so many people working behind the scenes. Read more about the declaration here; find out more about BDRB here; and about ADVANCE here.

And finally, on a purely selfish note, yesterday was a triple whammy of birthdays of some of my favourite people: my mom, my twin cousins and Phil Nimmons - reason to celebrate on its own.

As the days get longer, and the temperature rises, I am hopeful that brighter times are ahead.

Josh

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