For the rest of the country, the 2023 Junos will be a one-day celebration of Canadian music taking place at Rogers Place in Edmonton. But for us here in Edmonton, it will be a culmination of five weeks of events leading up to the March 13 JUNO Awards ceremony. Downtown will be a prime location to see much of what’s going on. Here are a few suggestions on how to partake in the excitement for the next month or so. (Check back often because we’ll update this article as information about new events and details become available.)
Discover the next breakout Alberta artist
A 10-show concert series collaboration between the JUNOS 2023 Edmonton Host Committee, which includes CBC Music and Explore Edmonton, Road to the Junos cycles a number of local and provincial acts through five different venues for the bargain price of $10 per show. Edmonton’s D’orjay the Singing Shaman and Lethbridge’s Shaela Miller kick it all off on Feb. 6 at Station on Jasper, where it will stay until Feb. 9. After that it spreads out to other spots through the city, including the Starlite Room. Most of the shows are being filmed by CBC to be aired later on during the year. Full schedule and tickets are available at the Road to the Junos website.
Hop from music venue to venue for three days of shows by Canada’s hottest performers
The days leading up to the Junos themselves will be absolutely swimming with music as Juno Fest takes over venues across Edmonton. Downtown sees lots of options, starting with the Starlite Room, which is hosting such acts as Sargeant X Comrade and guests on March 10, indie-rock legends Sloan on March 11, and a long list of performers topped by Métis singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume on March 12. Rocky Mountain Icehouse claims a bill including BETABOYS and Calgary’s Miesha & The Spanks on March 11.
Toronto’s Altameda are headlining at 99Ten on March 10, followed on March 12 at the same venue by Winnipeg family unit The Bros. Landreth. Mauvey is back in town on a bill at Evolution Wonderlounge with fellow Vancouver-ite Rich Aucoin on March 12, while Chvrch of John has Toronto DJ HNTR and others on March 10. The Common hosts two significant Canadian hip-hop acts: former Edmontonian Cadence Weapon on March 10, and Nova Scotia’s finests, Skratch Bastid, on March 11. Most of the shows feature three performers for the low price of $20. Tickets can be found on the Juno Fest page.
Take in a good old hockey game – musicians vs. hockey players
A light-hearted hockey competition between musicians, NHL alumni and other sports celebrities, the Juno Cup has been on hiatus since the pandemic started. The match is back for 2023 on Sunday March 12 at the Downtown Community League, and while we still don’t know who’ll be lacing up the skates, where it will be played or when, we do know that in the past it has attracted such notables as former Toronto Maple Leaf Doug Gilmour, Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, and two-time Olympic gold medallist and women’s hockey legend Sami Jo Small. It’s fun, it’s unique, and it’s all in support of MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity. Tickets start at $16 and are a fundraiser for MusiCounts. Get your tickets online.
Learn what goes into writing a hit song by those who write hit songs
If you’re a fan of the side stages at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, then you’re in for a real treat at the JUNOS Songwriters’ Circle to held March 12 at the Winspear Centre. This is a highly regarded event where you’ll hear stories, anecdotes, maybe even a tip or two about what goes into writing a hit song. This year’s musical talents include Damhnait Doyle, Dan Mangan, The Reklaws, The Bros. Landreth, Adria Kain, actor Tyler Shaw and breakthrough indie band Wild Rivers. The evening kicks off with a live interview taping for Tom Power’s hit CBC program Q, where he’ll get up close and personal with global superstar Simu Liu live on stage in Edmonton. Expect intimate conversations and stripped-down live performances. Tickets start at $35.
Get your kids to love music
Kids also get a taste of the musical action as CBC Kids’ Janaye Upshaw hosts the Junior Junos over at the Stanley A. Milner Library on March 12 at noon. Beppie, Garth Prince, Young Maestro and Keysha Freshh, and Splash’N Boots are among the entertainers, with Jeremy & Jazzy checking in with a virtual appearance. This may be one of the hottest tickets in town when hip hop, rapper, actor, and now children’s book author Maestro Fresh Wes takes to the mic to sign 90s hit “Let Your Backbone Slide.” Tickets are free for this afternoon of family-friendly music, and storytelling, deemed appropriate for children up to 7 years, with a parent or caregiver present during the program.
Don’t call it a MasterClass, but it is
Delve into the secrets of record making as Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene shepherds a lineup of respected recording engineers and producers through Juno Stories from the Studio. Album, taking place at Allard Hall in MacEwan University on March 13 at 10:30 a.m. Jack Richardson, Derek Hoiffman, Gus van Go, and Mike Wise are among the Juno nominated industry insiders speaking to the creative process behind some of the country’s most beloved songs and albums. Tickets are free for this panel discussion, available in advance from universe.com
Attend the JUNO Awards, of course
Clear your schedule for the Juno Awards on Monday, March 13 at 5 p.m. After weeks of speculation you’ll finally find out who the JUNO winners are in such categories as Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and the Fan Choice Award. Hosted once again by Simu Liu, this edition features performances by Nickelback, Tate McRae, and Tenille Townes, with Montreal-based producers Banx and Ranx collaborating alongside AP Dhillon and Rêve. Last year electro-pop singer Charlotte Cardin was the clear winner, taking home four of the coveted awards; will anyone do as well in 2023? Tickets start at $61.70 including taxes, available in advance from Ticketmaster.
Wrangle your way into a JUNO after party
After the party is, of course, the after party, and sadly it’s likely you won’t be getting into any of the ones put together by sponsors and record labels like Universal Music Canada, Warner Music Canada and CIMA. You will, however, be seeing a number of Canadian celebrities out and about, bar hopping and mingling amongst themselves. If you’re lucky you might have a connection that gets you in somewhere.