London won its bid to host the 48th annual Juno Awards today.

Coming to London in 2019, this is the first time the the Forest City will host the Junos. The city pledged $1.3 million to help fund the event in order to win. Ward 6 councillor Phil Squire is looking forward to the increased profile that the awards will bring to London.

“We’re going to get a much higher profile as a city. National coverage; you can’t buy that,” Squire said.

London also plans to give local musicians a chance to workshop and make connections with those visiting during the Junos. According to the press release, there are estimated economic benefits of around $10 million for the host city.

In support of the 2019 Junos, the city also announced that beginning Jan. 29, major music venues in the city will donate one dollar from every ticket sold to MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity associated with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Venues include London Music Hall, Budweiser Gardens and Centennial Hall.

Squire thinks the city played it smart in how they won their bid.

“We first hosted the Canadian Country Awards,” says Squire. “We showed people in the first instance that we can do this.”

The opportunity for an increased profile goes both ways, as many Western students did not know about the Junos when asked. 

However, some Western musicians question whether London is ready for an event of this scale.

“The local artist scene often finds itself stuck in very specific niche genres and markets,” says Nate Clapinson, a fourth-year Western University music administrative studies student. “If done right, it can bring extremely positive attention to the scene and be used as the catalyst to initiate these changes.”

Regardless of implications, all agree on the cultural cache that the awards will bring to the Forest City. The Junos will take place as part of a weeklong festival from March 11 to 17, 2019, at Budweiser Gardens. The Junos themselves will be broadcast live on the CBC on March 17, 2019.

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