May 28

Canada’s Largest Music Conference and Festival Canadian Music Week 2021  A Virtual Conference this year!

By Sally Warburton

Canada’s Largest Music Conference and Festival

Canadian Music Week 2021  A Virtual Conference this year!

May 18 – 21, 2021 4 day music summit the CMW Conference was virtual due to Covid pandemic. With the CMW app easily available on cell or laptop, each talk, meeting and music presentation was at your fingertips. In non Pandemic years, the 38th year of the CMW industry conference and music festival is held at many different venues over 10 days in Toronto.  The condensed version offered as many exciting opportunities for learning and networking as other years. The 4 days still included an action-packed schedule of keynote speakers, panels, workshops, master classes and virtual receptions with international and domestic delegates exchanging ideas where the most current trends in music, tech and business converge. Who attends?  People in the music industry – performers, promoters, media, marketing, producers, music fans, technicians and career searchers.

Schedule was jam packed. Organization of the conference was excellent with an awesome app making you feel the Keynote speakers such as Buffy Sainte Marie were live in person. Beatclub, Songwriters, Grammy award winning Timbaland. Music topics covered in Workshops and panel discussions were entitled State of the Global Music Industry, From Livingroom Shows to Drive-ins: Navigating the Live Music Ecosystem, Global Promoter Super Session: The Return of Live, Meet the Managers, Born to Produce: A Fireside Chat with Dallas Austin, Vaccine Passports, Unmasking New Music: How an Artist “Breaks Out” in a Locked-Down World, An Exclusive In-Depth Conversation with Nile Rodgers & TIMBALAND, TikTok Masterclass

The Music Showcases every night from 7PM to midnight was free to the public featured singers and bands performing through streaming each of the 4 nights 7pm – 12 midnight with different stages.  Featured countries Holland, South Africa and Poland, Indigenous Prince Edward Island, Emerging Musician Program and every type of music possible.

Four documentary music films were screened. One documentary was about Canadian songwriters and singers Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida called  I’m Going to Break Your Heart  – The married music couple go to the French islands off Newfoundland, St Pierre et Miquelon to get inspiration for their songwriting. Viewers learn about the songwriting process, the creativity, the frustration it causes between the couple and the collaboration of many people involved to create a beautiful song.  St Pierre et Miquelon is viewed as peaceful with ocean view scenery and friendly people in the local bars and restaurants.  I’m Going to Break Your Heart is a perfect film for Canadian Music Week. A treat for Our Lady Peace and Kreviazuk fans!

The week after the CMW on May 27 the Canadian band July Talk gave a concert broadcast on Sessions presented by CMW and The INDIES. Pre-recorded at the El Mocambo in Toronto, July Talk’s lead singer Leah Fay and band members Peter Dreimanis, Josh Warburton, Ian Docherty and Danny Miles had viewers mesmerized by their voices, music and movements. A concert for fans from all over the world sharing their messages in the chat. A full hour of solid July Talk music loved by all. 

The themes of promotion and returning to live music in the near future were interwoven in all the workshops.  Explore trends, exchange ideas, make connections and meet with people in the industry.  Discussing global challenges facing the ever-changing music business.  And we’re looking forward to live music in the near future and to an in person Canadian Music Week 2022. We know that the pandemic has created some awesome virtual experiences and these 4 days of CMW were certainly part of that.  For more info on this fantastic music conference visit

We would like to thank Damien Nelson of Want & Able Arts Consulting for the invitation to Canadian Music Week 2021.