There’s no shortage of events and activities residents can take part in during Country Music Week here in London.
The Canadian Country Music Association’s national festival, which is being held in the Forest City for the first time, runs from Thursday, September 8th to Sunday, September 11th.
Country Music Week will be the largest non-sporting event London has ever hosted.
AM980’s sister station Country 104 will be broadcasting live from the corner of Dundas and Wellington on Thursday morning from 5:30a.m. until 10a.m. The broadcast will feature a live performance with Meghan Patrick at around 8:30a.m.
Several Corus Radio London personalities will be taking part in the Knights vs. Country Artist Road Hockey Game at Budweiser Gardens at noon.
Thursday afternoon will feature the first session of the CCMA Songwriters’ Series, which celebrates the crafting of original songs and the stories behind the words, indulging listeners with both new and familiar faces in the process.
The set at Wolf Performance Hall beginning at 1p.m. will be hosted by Wes Mack and feature Mike Robins of Autumn Hill, The Lovelocks, and Alex Runion. Another set beginning at 2p.m. will feature Steve Wilkinson, Bobby Wills, Stacey Lee Guse, and Kelly Prescott.
“It’s just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really get an appreciation or a better understanding of that song-writing process so that’s a unique event,” said Director of Culture and Entertainment Tourism at Tourism London, Chris Campbell.
Tickets are $25 each.
The CCMA Discovery Showcase at London Music Hall will see the six 2016 CCMA Discovery Program finalists come together one last time, as each performs separately and vies for the attention of a secret panel of judges who are onsite to decide this year’s CCMA Discovery Award winner (presented at Saturday’s private industry event, the CCMA Gala Dinner & Awards).
The host for the event, which runs from 8p.m. until 11p.m., will be Beverley Mahood. Tickets are $25 each.
The Jack Daniel’s Country Music Week Kick-off Party is also kicking off at 8p.m. Thursday. The free, 19+ event will close Talbot Street between the crossroads of King Street and Dundas Street, and will launch the 40th anniversary celebration of Country Music Week.
Branded the Fanshawe College and Downtown London Stage at Budweiser Gardens, Thursday night’s line-up includes: Amy Nelson, James Barker Band, PETRIC, Meghan Patrick, JoJo Mason, Cold Creek County, Aaron Pritchett, and Tim Hicks.
The fun continues on Friday, with residents invited to a free event called “Music Rescues.” Visitors to the Delta Armories from 1:30p.m. until 3:30p.m. Friday afternoon will get to meet various country artists and see dogs and cats available for adoption from the London Humane Society.
T.E.A.M. Dog Rescue will also be there with a few of their adoptable puppies. There will be live performances and a silent auction.
Gord Bamford will be visiting the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre on Friday to present a $10,000 cheque to Children’s Health Foundation in support of the hospital’s Music Therapy Program.
The second session of the CCMA Songwriters’ Series is scheduled from 5p.m. until 7:30p.m. Friday at the Wolf Performance Hall. The set at 5p.m. will feature Jamie Warren, Jason Benoit, Keith and Renée, and Darren Gusnowsky & Rob Shapiro of Hey Romeo.
The set at 6:15 p.m. will feature Eddie Eastman, Jaida Dreyer, Genevieve Fisher, Jeff Johnson. Tickets are $25 each.
The outdoor stage at Budweiser Gardens on Talbot Street and the Covent Garden Market Square will play host to the 3rd annual Bamford Bash on Friday night from 7:30p.m. until 8:30p.m.
The free, 19+ event will see three time and current nominee for CCMA Artist of the Year Gord Bamford perform some of his best known hits. He’ll also welcome other stars to the stage, including Kira Isabella, JoJo Mason, Jason Benoit, Jesse Mast, Chris Buck Band, and Lindsay Ell.
“We are incredibly fortunately to have artists of this caliber, perform free to the public,” said Campbell. “A showcase like the Bamford Bash really enhances the fan experience during Country Music Week.”
When the Bamford Bash wraps up at 8:30p.m. Friday, the outdoor stage at Budweiser Gardens will begin a Tribute to the Tragically Hip featuring the Lovelocks, Tim Moxam, David James, Endless Summer, Eric Etheridge, Casey May, The Dungarees, and Leah Daniels.
Meantime, Centennial Hall is hosting the CCMA Legends Show: A Tribute to Yesterday and Today from 8p.m. until 10p.m. Friday night.
The event will pay tribute to Canadian country hits of the past by pairing some of Canada’s most cherished country artists, including Hall of Fame inductees, with rising and current stars of the industry.
Performers for the show include The Abrams, Donna and LeRoy Anderson, Marie Bottrell, Johnny Burke, George Canyon, Doc Walker, Murray McLauchlan, Jessica Mitchell, Small Town Pistols, The Western Swing Authority, The Wilkinsons, Bobby Wills, and Michelle Wright.
Tickets to the event are $40 each.
The Huron County FanFest begins Saturday at the Metroland Media Agriplex, Western Fair District. The event, which runs from 11a.m. until 3p.m., is free to the public and will feature back-to-back live performances by a collection of fan-favourite artists.
Performers for the show include Chad Brownlee, Lindsay Ell, Tim Hicks, Kira Isabella, Brett Kissel, Wes Mack, Madeline Merlo, Jess Moskaluke, The Road Hammers, and Deric Ruttan.
The third session of the CCMA Songwriters’ Series is scheduled from 1:30p.m. until 5p.m. Saturday afternoon at the Wolf Performance Hall. The 1:30p.m. set, hosted by Doc Walker, will feature Patricia Conroy, Drew Gregory, and Kayla Luky.
The set at 2:45p.m. will feature Small Town Pistols, Endless Summer, Jessica Mitchell, Emma-Lee. Tickets are $25 each.
The outdoor stage at Budweiser Gardens on Talbot Street and the Covent Garden Market Square will host the Doc Walker 25th Anniversary celebration on Saturday. The free, 19+ event begins at 8p.m.
The final day of Country Music Week in London will feature the fourth installment of the CCMA Songwriters’ Series. The event, which runs from 1p.m. until 3p.m., features masterclass songwriters from both sides of the border in a guitar pull setting. Notable songwriters from Canada and the U.S. will share the stories behind country music’s biggest hits.
Performers for the session include Ralph Murphy, Kristian Bush, Christopher DeStefano, Deric Ruttan, and Jeremy Stover.
Tickets to the event are $30 each.
Country 104 will be hosting the free CCMA Awards Show Countdown Concert at the outdoor stage at Budweiser Gardens on Talbot Street and the Covent Garden Market Square from 3p.m. until 4:30p.m.
The event will feature Lindsay Ell, The Lovelocks, Wes Mack, River Town Saints, The Washboard Union, and Bobby Wills.
After the concert wraps up, Talbot Street and Covent Garden Market Square will become the John Deere Green Carpet from 4:30p.m. until 6p.m. Nominated artists, performers, presenters and special guests walk the carpet and interact with fans and media along the way. Fans are encouraged to get to the FanZone early for prime spots to get a glimpse of, and cheer on, their favourite stars.
“You’ll want to get there early,” said Campbell. “I was at the Green Carpet in Halifax and there were thousands of people lined up in the rain.”
Ticketholders for the CCMA Awards Show must be in their seats no later than 6:30p.m.
Canadian country music’s biggest night, the 2016 CCMA Awards Show, runs Sunday from 6:45p.m. until 9p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. The two-hour show features performances and appearances by some of Canada’s brightest country stars and announces winners in eight award categories.
Jessi Cruickshank will host the show, which will feature Gord Bamford, Dean Brody, Chad Brownlee, Terri Clark, Cold Creek County, Tim Hicks with Colin JamesHigh Valley, Brett Kissel with Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Madeline Merlo, Jess Moskaluke, and Johnny Reid, with special guest performers Kelsea Ballerini and Sam Hunt.