While we can’t devote as much time to it as we’d like given more pressing ward priorities, I and my music lovin’ and playin’ staff continue to advocate for making Ottawa a great music city. I wanted to take this opportunity to update residents on a couple of recent items on that front.
First, I was thrilled last weekend to attend with the Mayor and my colleague Osgoode Councillor George Darouze the opening of a new rehearsal studio and art gallery on Osgoode’s main drag, Vibration Studios. The studio has four big custom-constructed rehearsal spaces with a variety of PA and gear available. Within a year, hopefully, it will have a board and begin recording according to owner Fred Colford. The gorgeous gallery space is bound to become a venue. And, the property behind the building is crying out to be used for some Miley Cyrus/Jolene-style “backyard session” video-making. I spoke with the Mayor for a bit onsite about possibly hosting some 2017 Juno programming at Vibrations.
While we have a lot of work to do in Ottawa to make it an internationally-recognized music town, one of our competitive advantages is the opportunity for space like this in our villages. On a beautiful morning, the quick drive down the 416 takes you out of the hustle of the city into an environment conducive to creativity and reflection. Our strong singer-songwriter and Valley country and bluegrass scenes need venues and spaces like this. I’m looking forward to seeing Vibrations thrive, and to the continued economic diversification and job creation in our rural areas.
(As a quick riff on this theme, I love what Festivals Ottawa has done this fall with its Festival of Small Halls. The Festival is just about over, but this weekend check out shows by Jim Bryson, Sherman Downey & Matthew Byrne, and the Devin Cuddy Band.)
Secondly, I need to acknowledge a mea culpa for taking so long to submit a report on my participation in May’s Music Cities Summit in Toronto. I’ve submitted that report to the agenda of Tuesday’s Finance and Economic Development Committee. It was an excellent event with the focus squarely on the business of music, with lots of best practices for municipalities. Take a look at the report below. The information was very complementary to a there-and-back road-trip I took with a couple of our planners this spring to Montreal to discuss zoning, noise and cultural funding strategies with officials in that city.
I continue to believe that fostering our music industry in Ottawa will have significant benefits for relatively low-cost. The focus in 2017 will be on ensuring the Junos are leveraged to the sector’s lasting benefit in Ottawa, working with groups such as the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition to generate an important legacy. I’m looking forward to sharing those details in the coming months.