CMW (Canadian Music Week)  Is Still The Big Festival In Canada

Submitted by Peter Åstedt

CMW recently celebrating its 40th Anniversary so it’s a legendary music mainstay that has been there for many years. The festival has changed locations various times during those years as well. This year they went back to InterContinental Toronto Centre in downtown Toronto.

This was CMW’s post-COVID comeback to be held in person. Of course, during the pandemic, there were some digital things for CMW but being back in person was an important step. COVID  had so much impact on the festival since Canada has been one of the stricter countries with its COVID rules and the festival has been forced to switch dates a couple of times as well.  This year it was 6 to 11th of June, quite late compared to earlier editions.

CMW is one of the giants in showcase festivals. Here you have hundreds of panelist experts that speak in at least three different rooms at any given time. The topics are in the front run, here is the debate on the future of the music industry and what is the next step in publishing and of course a big keynote speaker appearance of Merck Mercuriadis from Hipgnosis. Our favorite is the  International Market Place room and the speed meetings. Here the festival gathers many of international guests and speakers so you can book a one-to-one session. And that is good as CMW is in a big hotel and speakers that you might see on a panel also can disappear in the big building very fast. You are not certain that you are going to meet them again. Here the one-to-one meetings secure that you have a chance to really speak to the people you need to speak to for your career needs.

The showcases are happening all over Toronto in the nighttime. It was a full booking of artists playing as well, around 250 this year. It’s a heavy focus on Canadian artists. Some USA but very little from other countries. The festival uses established bars all around Toronto where artists can showcase. Of course, Toronto is a big city so to be able to see bands you have to travel quite a lot to get to various locations. It’s not unusual with Taxi rides up to 40 minutes between the gig places and it’s a challenge to get industry people to your gig. The gig places are though well-equipped and the locals are out there to find new talent.

This is a festival you go to when you have a network to build on. This is a festival  to attend to meet the bigger companies and the bigger names, especially in the Canadian music industry. It’s not a festival for the first-timer and you have to be well prepared to scout out the people you have to meet and try to get down to your showcase. On the other side, it’s here you can make the big business happen.