Multiple 2011 Nova Scotia Music Week award winner Carmen Townsend belts out vocals on stage in Yarmouth during the last year Nova Scotia Music Week was held here. TINA COMEAU/FILE PHOTO
By Tina Comeau
People still sing the praises of how successful Nova Scotia Music Week was when it was hosted in Yarmouth over three consecutive years. Now they may get an encore performance.
The Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association (YASTA) told town councillors at a May 22 committee of the whole meeting that Yarmouth intends to put in a bid to once again host this music development and showcasing event.
Yarmouth hosted Molson Canadian Nova Scotia Music Week in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The host location for the event is now up for grabs for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“We’re going to bid on all three,” Rick Allwright of YASTA said during his presentation to council. “We may get one. We may get all three. We could get none. But we would expect at least one of them we will get.”
Allwright told council that an official with Music Nova Scotia has indicated they’d be willing to come back to Yarmouth as early as 2015, depending on the bids put forward.
Since leaving Yarmouth the event has been held in Liverpool and Sydney and this fall takes place in Truro.
Nova Scotia Music Week is an annual celebration of music in this province. The event attracts musicians, music fans, high-profile music industry professionals and media. Components of the event include a showcasing festival, a songwriters’ circle, a Mind Over Music Conference, late night suites and a music and industry awards brunch. A new component being introduced in Truro this year is a NSMW SuperShow.
“Like any other event there is an investment involved to putting this together. Compared to prior events the cash component has gone up,” Allwright said. “In the past three years that we’ve hosted the cash component was $10,000 (annually), these coming three years they’re looking for $20,000 in cash (annually) and $20,000 in-kind (annually from the host community).”
The town of Yarmouth is being asked for an annual financial commitment of $20,000 for the licensing fee to accompany the bid, and for $2,000 in-kind support. Allwright said they’re pressed for time in submitting a hosting bid as it has to be sent in by June 9.
He said if successful in hosting the event the local host committee would appeal to the municipalities of Yarmouth and Argyle for funding support so the town is not footing the entire $20,000 bill alone. The other units would also be asked to contribute to the in-kind portion of hosting the event. The remainder of the in-kind portion would come from the business community and host committee.
Town council will vote on the YASTA request at a June 4 town council meeting. Those who spoke around the table on May 22 all seemed very supportive of putting forth a hosting bid.
One of the thing that made Yarmouth stand out as a host location in the past – aside from its hospitality and its volunteer army – was the proximity of the event locations to one another, as most were within walking distance.
Allwright says there are many benefits, beyond the 1,000-plus room nights the multi-day event would generate.
“There’s community pride,” he said. “When we hosted this event before the community pride was through the roof.”
It also adds to Yarmouth’s hosting résumé, he said, which helps Yarmouth in going after other large-scale events.
When Music Week was held here in 2010, Events Nova Scotia carried out an economic assessment. While the event costs $539,139 to put on, the economic impact of the total industry output was estimated to be $1.3 million.
Councillors listening to the presentation agreed this was a very lucrative event for Yarmouth in the past, in terms of economic impact and community exposure.
“We saw the bang for the buck,” said Councillor Ken Langille. “This town was hopping.”