|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Ear to the ground
Over the next few days, the North by Northeast festival is providing twenty-six Toronto clubs the opportunity to showcase a wide array of rising Canadian and international talent to both record labels and music fans.
This six-day event attempts to uncover a diversity of musical sounds from lesser known bands, which otherwise fail to be heard. "Giving voice to smaller bands is becoming increasingly important," says Mario Circelli, general manager of CHRW and TV Western. "Commercial radio is a jukebox, it plays only a small percentage of what artists are actually recording. These types of festivals are necessary and helpful to give bands exposure and a chance to play larger venues," he said.
While its geographical title limits the event to the Toronto area, Andy McClean, organizer of NXNE, insists the festival is expanding in influence. "There's such a wide variety of genres, ranging from hip-hop, funk, pop, alternative, jazz and swing it's impossible to contain it."
Borrowing the concept from the South by Southwest festival in Austin Texas, McClean adopted its format four years ago. As a result, it has become the successful Canadian cousin to SXSW.
"The essence of the festival works because it combines music and business," he explains. "Not everyone will get signed but each band will be further ahead than before."