A Symphony of Progress: West Anthem's Unveils “Resonant Energies: A Music City Strategy for Calgary”

This year has been a symphony of progress at West Anthem, crescendoing with the thrilling gathering of friends and collaborators at the Calgary Music City Strategy media launch on May 28th! In partnership with the Government of Alberta, Alberta Music, and the National Music Centre, West Anthem has been developing music city strategies for both Calgary and Edmonton. Additionally, we’ve crafted a toolkit to help rural and small cities amplify the impact of music on their communities. This launch was our stage to unveil these transformative strategies to Calgary’s music industry members and supporters.

The ambiance at Mikey’s on 12th was set by local musician Shane Ghostkeeper, guitarist and songwriter for the band Ghostkeeper, whose performance set the perfect tone for the media launch. Following his performance, Andrew Mosker, Co-Founder and Chair of West Anthem and President and CEO of the National Music Centre, welcomed the guests and announced the release of our latest report: “Resonant Energies: A Music City Strategy for Calgary”.

Andrew took the audience on a journey through West Anthem’s evolution, from its inception in 2012 as the Alberta Music Cities Initiative to its rebranding as West Anthem, an advocate for Alberta’s music industry. Over the years, we’ve launched pivotal documents such as “Fertile Ground: The Alberta Music Cities Initiatives” in 2014, a comprehensive music strategy for Alberta, and the “2020 West Anthem Music Ecosystem Study”, which detailed critical investments needed to support the music industry during tough times. With over a decade of research and advocacy, West Anthem is ready to reveal how Calgary can transform into a thriving music city, boosting economic growth, cultural richness, and community well-being.

Patti Pon, President and CEO of Calgary Arts Development and a member of the RISE UP Calgary Committee, was first to the podium. She delved into Calgary’s CreativeCity work and the Music City Strategy findings, explaining how these initiatives align to shape Calgary’s creative economy. Patti highlighted key points from the report, including the development of music-friendly policies and infrastructure, creating spaces for musical collaboration and innovation, offering professional development for emerging artists, and supporting artists from diverse backgrounds. She underscored the music industry’s significant economic impact, noting that in 2020, music contributed $1.7 billion to Alberta’s GDP and supported over 20,000 jobs, even amid the pandemic.

Next was Lisa Jacobs, a local musician and music therapist, to share an artist’s and boots on the ground perspective on the new strategy. Lisa emphasized the importance of resources like professional development programs, workshops, mentorship, and networking opportunities, particularly for equity-deserving communities. She highlighted how advocacy organizations like West Anthem play a crucial role in addressing the challenges and barriers faced by Alberta musicians.

Andrew wrapped up the event with thanks to the Government of Alberta, Alberta Music, and the National Music Centre for their steadfast support and dedication to this project.

A special thanks goes out to the sponsors of this event—RISE UP Calgary, YYC Music Awards, and Bird Creatives—for their  support and recognition of the importance of this strategy, and to Mikey’s on 12th for hosting this wonderful event.

Lastly, West Anthem thanks Bird Creatives for their diligent work in compiling the phased reports, conducting engagement activities over the past year, and crafting these final strategies and toolkits. We appreciate everyone who participated in our engagement and focus groups; your insights and feedback have been invaluable in shaping this strategy.

Click here to read the Calgary and Edmonton strategies and explore the digital toolkit.

Photo Credit: Sebastian Buzzalino

Thank you to the sponsors who helped make this event a success!




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