The Newfoundland and Labrador music scene has come a long way in 50 years.
“I am so in awe of the talent that was here tonight,” Lifetime Achievement Award winner and all-around legend Ralph O’Brien said. “Fifty years ago, we didn’t have all this, this diversity.’
Oct. 14 saw the culmination of MusicNL’s annual conference and awards ceremony, hosted in Twillingate this year. From folk to metal and rock to country, a dozen acts performed on the final night, entertaining hundreds of people in the J.M. Olds Collegiate gymnasium, transformed into an appropriate venue for a provincial event.
According to executive director Glenda Tulk, this year saw the event travel to its smallest community yet, but all to good effect.
“It’s always a challenge to come to a small centre to do this kind of conference and awards show,” she told The Central Voice. “The venues are smaller, but the audiences often aren’t.”
Several artists commented on the welcome they received from Twillingate, promising to return. Tulk said part of the benefit of taking the event to new locations is that it gives those communities the confidence to take on other large events. It also creates connections between artists and venues off the beaten path, encouraging the former to come back for other shows.
“We’ll get an influx, in the next few weeks, of memberships in this region,” Tulk said, noting that MusicNL has to work to represent the whole province and not only the Avalon. “They know it’s for them too.”
MusicNL 2018 winners, presented at awards show
Instrumental Artist/Group of the Year: Ouroboros
Split Rock Brewing Co. Celtic/Traditional Artist of the Year: Rum Ragged
Yamaha Canada Side Musician of the Year: Maria Cherwick
Electronic Artist of the Year: Game Boy
Town of Twillingate Folk/Roots Artist of the Year: Rube & Rake
Rap/Hiphop Artist of the year: Chessclub
Molson/Coors Rock Artist of the Year: Mick Davis and Thin Love
The Anchor Inn Group of the Year: Rum Ragged
The Telegram/Central Voice Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year: The Swinging Belles
Pop Artist of the Year: Fortunate Ones
The Bee’s Knees/Posie Row Female Artist of the Year: Sherry Ryan
DC Design House Male Artist of the Year: Mark Bragg
Big Story Entertainment Alternative Artist of the year: Mark Bragg
MacGillivray Injury and Insurance Law Country Artist of the year: Carolina East
Classic Hits Coast 101.1 FM Jazz/Blues Artist of the Year: Earle and Coffin
FACTOR Album of the Year: Fortunate Ones, “Hold Fast”
Ron Hynes SOCAN Songwriter of the Year: Mark Bragg
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ralph O’Brien
OZFM Rising Star of the Year: Rube & Rake