September 26, 2020

BY MARK FITZGERALD

Music and media industry professionals came together Nov. 22 at the second Music Works session to help give local talent a bigger voice in the music world.

At the event, organized by the City of Kitchener and held at the Victoria Park Pavillion, music and media members discussed many topics on how to put Kitchener on the map for music. Some of the participants discussed ways to brand local music, how to attract tourism through music, and the possibility of having a music conference/festival in the area.

This session did not set anything in stone, it merely gave city staff ideas and some action plans of where they should go, and how to get there.

Kitchener is fairly prominent in the music scene already. However, most of the music is underground or just beginning to emerge. The Music Works project aims to help those artists and attract some attention to the city.

Conestoga College provided the event with technological support, including the use of Macbooks and a screen to project near real-time responses from the groups as they threw around ideas.

Mark Derro, chair of the School of Media and Design at Conestoga, said the college is looking “at becoming actively involved in the regional performance scene and are exploring a number of credentials that would benefit the community and assist in promoting the college in the arts and culture sectors.”

Dan Nedelko, a partner of ArtBarn Media, said he would like to be able to bring back famous local musical talent, and have them speak at a conference/festival and even have them play. One of the main goals of the festival is to help accelerate local musicians to the next level in the music industry.

“It could be something like SXSW or Coachella (huge music festivals in the United States). Just not right away,” Nedelko said.

Following the session, the guests had access to a light buffet and a cash bar. Live music was also played as everyone mingled and shared more ideas.

“I believe that the event was well received and substantial valuable information tabled for action. The next steps will see a focus on an action plan to ensure that the momentum from the Music Works initiatives moves from paper to tangible results,” Derro said.

The results and ideas of the session are still being analyzed by the city, however, the hope is some of the plans will be put into action in the new year.