Halifax is preparing a bid to host the 2024 JUNO Awards, and a committee of council is recommending spending $750,000 on the event.
Council’s Special Events Advisory Committee met virtually on Wednesday and heard a presentation from Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) president and CEO Allan Reid and vice president of business administration Céline Séguin. CARAS is the organization that runs the awards, but also the charity MusiCounts and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
The JUNO Awards recognize Canadian musicians annually, and Halifax last hosted them in 2006. In 2019, CARAS approached the municipality and province about hosting in 2020, but with the North American Indigenous Games planned for that year, they declined. Then there was a plan to host the awards in 2022, then 2025, and now 2024.
“In May 2022, CARAS contacted Events Nova Scotia and Events East and requested that Halifax consider submitting a proposal to host the 2024 JUNO Awards week-long celebrations instead of in 2025. The confirmed dates are March 15-24, 2024, with the broadcast held on Sunday, March 24 at Scotiabank Centre,” HRM culture and events manager Elizabeth Taylor wrote in the report to the committee.
“Hosting in 2024 was determined to be more suitable than 2025, for the both the province and the municipality, building on the investment made by both levels of government to the 2023 East Coast Music Awards (ECMAS) to support and showcase the local music industry over two consecutive years. There is no information available if there are other cities being considered by CARAS to host the 2024 JUNOS.”
Following the presentation on Wednesday, committee member Alison Gillian asked Séguin whether other cities are bidding on the 2024 awards.
“At this time, we’re working very closely with Halifax. So not to say that there aren’t any, but we’re very geared towards Halifax,” Séguin said.
The fee to host the awards is $1.7 million, and Taylor wrote that the provincial government has already confirmed it will put up $1 million.
“The municipality’s funding of $750,000 would include $50,000 that would be used to offset initial host committee costs, until a corporate sponsorship program (approved in advance by CARAS) and funding from other levels of government are resourced,” Taylor wrote.
The bid is due by Sept. 13 with a decision expected in October. Reid said CARAS’ board will meet to discuss HRM’s bid on Sept. 20.
The committee voted unanimously in favour of a motion to recommend council approve the funding “contingent on Halifax being selected as the host city.”
“It gets me excited … the contributions to grassroots, of course, but we are bringing people into the community, the economic drive is there also, they can expand their festival will go beyond just downtown Halifax area,” Coun. Tony Mancini said.
“I find this as a perfect investment that I will support we move ahead on it.”
The committee also voted on Wednesday to recommend council grant $15,000 to Saint Mary’s University for the 2022 U Sports Cross Country National Championships, coming up in November at The Links at Brunello, a golf course in Timberlea.