April 03, 2017
Well, like most other years, the JUNO Awards certainly made a splash in the Canadian music industry. After Saturday night’s gala, where most of the trophies got handed out, Sunday saw the main event go down at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. The weekend was not short on big or controversial moments, and also happened to have more than a few missteps. It kicked off with performances by Buffy Saint-Marie—who made sure to point out to attendees, “welcome to unceded Algonquin territory”—A Tribe Called Red, and Tanya Tagaq. For Secret Path, his album dealing with the life and death of Chanie Wenjack, an Ojibwe boy who died trying to walk back home from a residential school, Gord Downie took home Songwriter of the Year, Adult Alternative Album of the Year, and Recording Package of the Year, the latter of which he shared with artist Jeff Lemire and designer Isis Essery, and art director Jonathan Shedletzky. In a pre-recorded speech, Downie said, “Thank you for stepping into the wind, for following the sound you’ve been sort of hearing your entire life. For looking to see what has been bothering you a little bit. For recognizing that we’re not completely Canada yet. For seeing we have friends, our fellow countrymen and women, who are in big trouble. For recognizing our friends who were here before us, at least for thousands of years.”
Later, Paul Langlois, upon receiving Group of the Year on the behalf of the Tragically Hip, was cut off at the end of his speech while trying to speak about Downie. As they tried to play him off, he persisted: “Go to commercial, go ahead. This is my arena, not yours,” he said. When they attempted again, playing the Hip’s own “Ahead By a Century,” he kept going, but his mic was cut. “I want to shout out to Gord Downie and I want –” The late Leonard Cohen, who got a tribute in the form of Leslie Feist performing, “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye,” was awarded with Artist of the Year, and Album of the Year for You Want It Darker. His son (and fellow musician) Adam was on hand to pick up the awards on his behalf, saying during his Artist of the Year acceptance speech that, “My father always said that he saw a Juno in my future. Of course, it was his.” After that, the younger Cohen was also promptly cut off. Sarah McLachlan was inducted to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Rising star Alessia Cara pulled off Pop Album of the Year for Know-It-All.
Despite record-setting streaming numbers, Drake only managed to be honoured with the International Achievement Award. Jazz Cartier who, upon receiving the award for Rap Recording Of The Year for Hotel Paranoia, called out the JUNOs in an untelevised speech at the gala on Saturday. In an Instagram post later, he reiterated his comments: “Canadian radio is gonna have to stop bullshitting and start playing our own on our radio so these kids don’t feel the need to leave to the states in order to make it or get heard. That’s going to be one of my goals this year to make sure that happens. And also @thejunoawards while you guys enjoy all the hip hop in the world at your after parties, next year you gotta have this category filmed on television.”
The entire spectacle ended with Bryan Adams, who co-hosted the night with comedian Russell Peters, playing his big hit “Summer of ‘69” alongside Sarah McLachlan, Alessia Cara, and members of Billy Talent and Arkells.
Check out the complete list of all 2017’s JUNO Award winners.
In Other News:
- Stouffville, ON set the Guinness World Record for longest live concert streamed over the internet.
- Buffy Sainte-Marie gets the biography treatment.
- Vancouver’s Levitation festival won’t happen this year.
- Prairie hip-hop is making itself heard.
Festival Lineups: Burlington, ON’s Sound of Music Festival, Festival d’été de Québec, Toronto’s Briefcasefest, Oro-Medonte’s WayHome, London, ON’s Grickle Grass Festival, Halifax’s OBEY Convention, Port Renfrew, BC’s Tall Tree Music Festival