By Kayla Fraser
Jan. 15, 2014
Robert Henderson was hearing more than music when the showcase artists and bands for East Coast Music Week were announced Jan. 14 at the Charlottetown Convention Centre.
As Heather Gibson, chair of East Coast Music Week, welcomed everyone to the announcements, Henderson was hearing the sound of cash registers.
On an annual basis, P.E.I. attracts about one million tourists. This year, there is an increased marketing budget to bring many tourists to the East Coast Music Awards and the 2014 celebrations commemorating the Charlottetown conference, he said.
The province has invested $5 million more than normal, he said.
“We have significantly increased our marketing budget… we’ve invested about $5 million more in events on Prince Edward Island than we normally would… Its an investment into Prince Edward Island as a tourism destination.”
Co-chairs of the East Coast Music Week Jennifer Evans and Pat Deighan welcomed everyone to the event. Evans said they are proud to be involved.
Vice president of Eastlink TV Michael Smith said they are proud to be taking part in the coverage.
“We’ve had a great year on P.E.I.”
The tourism minister and Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee both announced showcase artists and bands.
“It’s and honour to be here as minister responsible,” said Henderson.
The program featured performances by Meaghan Blanchard and Kayo.
Evans said the event will engage Islanders from east to west and there is so much energy.
“It’s such an exciting time for P.E.I.”
Alex Douglas produces many music shows on P.E.I. He does some of the organizing for the Cavendish Beach Country concerts. He also organizes, executes, markets and coordinates shows at the P.E.I. Brewing Company in Charlottetown.
“That would be my role.”
East Coast Music Week will be good because people come from away and there are good showcases lined up, he said.
Henderson said one thing they focused on was the idea of past, present and the future.
“We look at the ECMAs as an opportunity to promote our culture and our music which Islanders and the destination of Prince Edward Island are somewhat renowned for. It’s just a way to get people to celebrate our music, come for a good time… it’s a very party atmosphere type of arrangement. So we’re trying to say come to P.E.I., stay for the party, our island musicians and performers are part of what makes a good party.”
The ECMAs continue to grow as a popular venue for music lovers across Atlantic Canada. The bar is getting set higher than ever before as a music industry for Atlantic Canada in Charlottetown, he said.
“It’s all keeping with the theme of celebration, good times, and it promotes Prince Edward Island’s culture and heritage for the performers that are from Prince Edward Island. We were quite confident that this will be an exceptional year for the ECMAs since its inception.”