FEBRUARY 11, 2008
Damhnait Doyle's regular column is being pre-empted this week for a special
report from the 20th anniversary of the ECMA's from Fredericton, NB by
special correspondent (and desperate manager), Sheri Jones.
The city of Fredericton turned out in full force to host a fantastic event.
Volunteers were everywhere and looked after everything from ground
transportation to registration. They were incredibly hospitable and great
fun all the way around.
Newfoundland artists, photographers, designers and industry were out in full
force and made a big impact on both delegates and Fredericton audiences.
Duane Andrews was, as usual, everywhere. He brought the house down at the
CBC taping of "The Shift" (their afternoon drive show) and played to a sold
out house at the Concert Series. Hey Rosetta went over in a big way with
the international delegates - with rumours of an upcoming Australian tour
and release. Dolan's was the official Music NL venue and was jammed every
night with performances that truly showed the versatility and breadth of
Newfoundland artists - with everyone from exceptional newcomers Trailer Camp
to the godfather of Newfoundland music, Ron Hynes.
On the visual side, Chris Smith (FunkFactor) had a showing in the Delta
which featured amazingly compelling and innovative photographs of some of
east coast music's leading lights. Designer mainstay Jud Haynes was greatly
missed this year but his cd covers graced many award winning recordings and
his design flair was evident in a lot of the delegates promotional material.
Ex pats were also in attendance with Damhnait Doyle promoting the release of
her new recording "Lights Down Low" and Patrick Boyle flying in from Toronto
not just to play all of Duane's shows but also to accompany buzz act Meaghan
Smith for her performance on the ECMA Anniversary Show.
As usual, Denis Parker was furthering the cause at every opportunity and
Randy Follett was busy spreading his Newfoundland charm amongst the
international delegates in support of NL artists. Unfortunately, ECMA past
chair, Glen Tilley, had to cancel his trip due to illness and was greatly
missed by all. Corner Brook representatives spent the week promoting next
year's event - not a difficult task as everyone always looks forward to
returning to NL for the ECMA's as one of the highlights of the rotation
The weekend ended on Sunday night with the industry awards and music awards.
Charlotte Story of Landwash took home the Record Company/Distribution/Indie
Label of the Year Award, beating out major label, Warner Music and The
Ducats were awarded a Stompin Tom Awards for their influence on the east
coast music scene. The ECMA Music Awards Show was hosted by the hilarious
Mark Critch - we all know awards shows can drag on a bit but Mark kept it
interesting and funny from beginning to end. All of the performances were
great but it was the proud and powerful performance of Shanneyganook that
struck the strongest east coast chord.
As this piece is being written a storm rages outside, delaying flights and
closing roads so the weekend festivities may not be over.
When last seen, Damhnait was jumping up on stage with Lennie Gallant and
Bruce Guthro in the Delta Pub for an impromptu performance. If you spot
her back in St. John's this week, give this writer a call!