Earlier this week, MusicOntario held its very 1st Sound Off! – Ontario event at Mitchell Hall in Guelph. It was absolutely astounding to meet so many members of the music community, who shared their thoughts & ideas about how MusicOntario can develop programs that support growth within their community.

The conversation started with what’s working well in Guelph, and it became clear that the city is one ripe with a drive to work together. The cooperative nature is strong, as evidenced by the many popular music festivals – both large and small – that strengthen the local community.

A discussion of industry challenges followed, and participants discussed challenges that were global in nature as well as those that were specific to their community. Global challenges discussed included geographic challenges related to touring, accessing financing, and how audiences value music as an artform, amongst other topics discussed.

On a local level, participants discussed a wide array of challenges, ranging from audience development, engaging local businesses, all-ages shows, long term artist development, affordable rehearsal spaces, and more. In particular, members of the Guelph community were vocal about wanting to develop a stronger relationship with all levels of government to have a collective voice on issues pertaining to the industry.

From an educational perspective, a number of topics were suggested as being valuable to those involved in the Guelph music scene. These included music publishing, work-life balance, promotion, recording 101, sponsorship development, and more.

Also discussed at length, and mentioned numerous times throughout the event, was a need to maintain connectivity within the community. An ongoing series of networking events to maintain connectivity with the members of the scene, as well as with members of OTHER communities, was highlighted.

There was a lot more covered, and we’re sure we have even more to learn, but we definitely came away with a slew of ideas for ways in which MusicOntario can help.

A huge thank you to all who came out to the event and voiced their ideas and insight. For anyone who couldn’t make it to the event, an online survey will be published very soon, and we invite you to share YOUR thoughts on how we can help out in your community.

Next stop: Ottawa!

Sound Off! – Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), with additional support from Ryerson University. Without them, this project would not be possible.

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A special thanks to the Guelph Arts Council for helping us promote the event.

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We’d also like to thank the fine folks over at TicketBreak for their support of MusicOntario and our year-round activities.

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Also thanks to our travel partner VIA Rail.

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