A Harmonious Future: West Anthem's Unveils “Resonant Energies: A Music City Strategy for Edmonton”

This year has been a crescendo of exciting progress at West Anthem, culminating in a gathering with friends and collaborators at the Edmonton Music City Strategy Media Launch on May 30th! In partnership with the Government of Alberta, Alberta Music, and the National Music Centre, West Anthem has been developing innovative music city strategies for Edmonton and Calgary. Plus, we’ve crafted a toolkit designed to help rural and small cities amplify the impact of music in their communities. This launch was our stage to share these insightful strategies with the community in Edmonton.

The River City Revival House was alive with anticipation as Métis singer-songwriter and Canadian Folk Music Awards Indigenous Songwriter of the Year nominee Cynthia Hamar serenaded our arriving guests. Puneeta McBryan, Executive Director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association and a member of the West Anthem Steering Committee, emceed the afternoon. Puneeta kicked things off by emphasizing the multifaceted power of music—not just as entertainment or art but as an economic powerhouse that fuels other industries and strengthens community bonds. This vision is the driving force behind West Anthem’s latest report: “Resonant Energies: A Music City Strategy for Edmonton”.

Puneeta recounted West Anthem’s journey, from its inception in 2012 as the Alberta Music Cities Initiative to its evolution into West Anthem, a steadfast advocate for Alberta’s music industry. Key milestones include the 2014 release of “Fertile Ground: The Alberta Music Cities Initiatives”, a comprehensive music strategy for Alberta, and the “2020 West Anthem Music Ecosystem Study”, which highlighted critical investments needed to sustain the music industry through challenging times. Throughout 2023, we’ve unveiled a series of phased reports, culminating in today’s launch of Edmonton’s strategy, backed by extensive research and engagement with industry insiders.

Next, Melissa Radu, Executive Director for Destination Stewardship at Explore Edmonton, took the stage. She shared insightful perspectives on how the Music City Strategy dovetails with the Night Time Economy, illustrating how music, arts, and culture are essential to cultivating a lively visitor economy within the province’s capital.

Tyson Boyd, Co-Owner of the Starlite Room and River City Revival House, then shared his hands-on experience implementing music-friendly venue policies. Tyson emphasized the vital role that venues play in the music ecosystem and advocated for streamlined permitting processes, favourable zoning laws, and reduced bureaucracy. He also touched on the significant investments venues require, particularly as many are still recovering from the pandemic’s impact.

The strategy highlights the critical need to safeguard music-dedicated funding and enhance ongoing dialogue between the music industry and policymakers. Tyson praised the pandemic-era shift in traditional grant support to include for-profit venues and stressed the importance of sustained support moving forward. He concluded by underscoring the importance of advocacy groups like West Anthem in identifying industry challenges and pushing for necessary policy and infrastructure changes.

Puneeta wrapped up the event by thanking the Government of Alberta, Alberta Music, and the National Music Centre for their steadfast support and dedication to this project.

A special shoutout goes to our launch sponsors—Explore Edmonton, Edmonton Downtown Business Association, and Bird Creatives—and to Tyson and his team at the River City Revival House for hosting this fantastic event.

West Anthem also extends thanks to Bird Creatives for their work in compiling the phased reports, conducting engagement efforts over the past year, and crafting these final strategies and toolkits. Thanks to everyone who participated in our engagement and focus groups over the past year; your insights have been invaluable in shaping this strategy.

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

Photo Credit: Marc Tran Portraits

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







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