'Saskatooning the JUNOS': Province prepares to step into the national spotlight
REGINA -- JUNO Week 2020 is a month away, and the province is getting ready to welcome musicians and music lovers from all across Canada.
“We call it Saskatooning the JUNOS, but this is Saskatchewan’s JUNOS,” said Hugh Vassos, Director of Marketing for the Host Committee. “We’re inviting music fans from all over the province to come in.”
There’s something for everyone, whether you’re into music or not. The celebration gets underway March 12 with a Kick-Off Concert featuring Saskatoon’s The Sheepdogs, followed by the JUNO Cup on March 13.
“You gotta have a hockey game whenever there’s a gathering like this,” said Vassos. “This is where Jim Cuddy and The Hunter Brothers and those guys take on some celebrities...It’s going to be a fun event. There’s some ex-NHLers playing in that.”
Celebrity athletes include Tim Cheveldae, Troy Crowder, Brad Dalgarno, Brent Sopel Kaitlin Willoughby, and Brent Ashton as a coach
JUNOFest runs from March 13 to 14 and features over 50 entertainers in 12 different venues throughout the Bridge City. The lineup and schedule will be released in the coming weeks.
There is also JUNO Fan Fare taking place at the Midtown Plaza on the 14, where fans can get up close and personal with their favourite stars, followed by the Songwriters’ Circle at TCU Place at noon on the 15.
“One of my favourite events is the songwriters circle,” Vassos said. “That’s where the artists go up on stage and they tell you about what was behind them writing that particular song. It’s really moving and It’s a great event.”
The week caps off with the highly anticipated awards show at SaskTel Centre in the evening on Sunday, March 15.
“It’s a great lineup, “ said Scott Ford, Chair of the Saskatoon Juno Host Committee. “Alessia Cara’s hosting, and she’s exploding right now. We have Daniel Caesar performing, Jann Arden, everybody loves Jann. Lennon Stella’s going to be performing, The Glorious Sons…and Tory Lanez is also performing, and more to be announced…it’s going to be a fantastic show.”
Not only will the JUNOs bring some of Canada’s biggest stars to the prairies, but they will also shine a spotlight on some homegrown talent.
“We’re really proud of our Saskatchewan artists,” said Ford. “We have five Saskatchewan artists that actually were nominated for Juno Awards this year. Foxwarren is one, the Hunter Brothers have two JUNO Award nominations, The Dead South, and there is a couple artists in Carey Shaw and Teri Fidelak that are both nominees for their artwork on albums, so a really strong representation from Saskatchewan artists.”
As for what they are looking forward to most:
“For me, it’s all of Canada’s music industry comes to Saskatoon,” Ford said. “So we have the artists, the artists’ managers, the publicists, the producers, the promoters. Right now we’ve increased hotel room capacity twice because all of the CARAS [Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences] delegates are coming in, while at the same time we’ve increased flights coming into Saskatoon. [Saskatchewan] will explode with all these visitors coming to Saskatoon for the JUNOS and it’s going to be fantastic.”
“Probably some sleep at the end of it,” Vassos laughs. “But it’s going to be action packed.”