photo by Graham Kennedy

For the first time in ten years, the East Coast Music Awards will be presented in St. John’s during the 2015 Eastlink East Coast Music week, April 8-12th.

Premier Paul Davis gave a heartfelt speech on what this will do for our artists, in terms of exposure and networking, and for the local business community. He even bought the new Amelia Curran album as he left the building. It’s a gem, by the way, if you haven’t heard it.

The press conference was held at Fred’s Records this morning, to announce this year’s host: Comedian Johnny Harris. The conference also revealed that this year, the Eastlink East Coast Music Week will be doing something different: the ECMA Awards gala will occur Thursday the 8th, prior to all the shows and showcases, to kick things off with a bang.

The province and the city are doing their part to welcome the ECMAs: they have each given $250,000 and $100,000 respectively to help fund the event. Mayor Dennis O’Keefe also gave a speech, which was basically a five-minute promise that this city knows how to party, and the ECMAs won’t regret choosing us for that very reason.

“The Government of NL is proud to support East Coast Music Week and its International Export Buyers Program, which promotes talented Atlantic Canadian artists abroad,” said premier Davis. “Newfoundland and Labrador’s renowned musicians are both talented and unique, but they are also small businesses that make a valuable contribution to the province’s economy.”

“Through this opportunity, representatives from the local industry are able to promote their product to a broader national and international market and I am confident that this financial contribution will allow the region’s musicians to showcase their talents, while they also gain knowledge and skills in the area of exports.”

It was also revealed that this year saw a record-breaking 1,1224 submissions for awards and showcases. Approximately 25% of which came from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians; a whopping 33% increase in local submissions from the previous year.

Early bird gala tickets, and festival passes and wristbands and VIP passes, will go on sale Monday the 24th at noon. Early bird gala tickets are$40, and tickets for a newly created “Gala Fan Pit” are $35, if you wanna be standing up close and personal.

It is estimated the East Coast Music Week will pump as much as 8 million dollars into the local economy, spread out through, as the mayor said, from cabbies carting musicians around, to the restaurants and shops, to hoteliers and bars.

Shows and shortlist announcements will be revealed on January 20th.

The winner of The Overcast’s 2014 Borealis Music Prize winner will also be invited to play the closing night party. Join us Friday the 28th at The Ship, prior to the Mark Bragg show, to find out who has won the Borealis Prize.