Indie Week Canada (Toronto) kick off Nov. 6th, 2018 at Revival Bar 
Indie Week Canada (Toronto) Close of Indie Week at Awards Mod Club Theatre Nov. 11th, 2018
Indie Week Canada (Toronto) is celebrating its 16th year of showcasing the best of independent talent in 25+ venues, over 6 nights. 250+ acts from all over the globe will play in front of music industry professionals & this unique festival puts industry & artists together, a stepping stone for artists wanting to enter into the North American & Canadian markets & make the connections that can help take your band to the next level.   Starting as a hobby for Darryl Hurs (founder & director) it has grown into an International Festival in Ireland for 6 years, now the last 4 in Manchester England.   This was their biggest year with the largest amount of acts on the bill.  VENUES throughout Toronto opened their doors to full houses filled with a growth of talent from all genres.  For only $7/advance or $10/door or a Super Pass that provided you access to the conference, all indie showcases, VIP, Industry mixers, Indie Week Launch party & Awards or you could've opted for an All-Access Pass giving you the access to the same minus the mixers or you could've worked your way 
down to Conference wristband level for $60.  
Below is the full list of Venues that participated
120 Diner,
B Side Lounge,
Baby G
Bovine Sex Club
Cherry Cola's 
Free Times Cafe
Gladstone Hotel
Harris Institute, 
Horseshoe Tavern
Cameron House
Cavern Bar
The Hideout (new location)
The Joint
The Mod Club Theatre
Paddock Tavern
The Painted Lady
Viz a Viz
Wildflower at the Thompson
Youtube Space Toronto
All venues ran up til 4am from Nov. 6th-11th representing 18 Countries from:
Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, USA, France, India, Isreal, Italy, Japan, Latvia,  Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, UK, Ukraine.  They even hosted a Brazil artist (Trampa) for a month-long residency in Ontario.  
They also hosted Road to Indie Week in Halifax, Winnipeg, Brasilia, London (UK) & Montreal.  Indie Week is not just a nonstop musical showcase it boasts a very informative fun-filled conference experience entitled 
Indie 101 Nov 7-10th with Guest Speakers like Martin Atkins, Music Sector Developer Mike Tanner, Independent Music Production Coordinator John Switzer, Canadian Idol's Jake Gold.  The conference reached out to help acts through education & connections through hosting panels exchanging knowledge between participants & industry.  This Fest focused on that rare hidden gem, the diamond in the rough the underdog if you will or the do it yourselfer Indie act......focused on acts & artists that truly believe Rock n Roll will never die, the honest to god music believers.   The conference Nov. 7th was located in various locations starting with The Revival where the speakers spoke about helping draft The Right Team for success, Human Condition/anxiety/depression & overall mental health, a Brazil presentation-Coma Fest.  Thurs. Nov. 8th  The Joint ran Industry Mixer and OLE presented a Songwriters Round hosted by Paul McGuire with Panelists Petric, Amanda Rheaume & Clayton Bellamy from 5-6pm.  As well, from 1pm to 5pm Supermarket hosted mainly in the back room a Manager's Panel with Panelists Susan deCartier (Starfish Ent.), Kendall Smith (Single by Sunday), Stephen Nightingale (Vitality Management), Mark Addis (Brontone Management).   And Seneca College presented College Producers Panel with Gaven Brown (Inside Pocket), Blank (Nicki Minaj Producer), John Switzer (SENECA), David Travers Smith (The Wallin' Jenny's)  Then 3pm Seneca Presented Social Media from start to finish and the spaces in between with panelists Dani Gagnon (The Like Button SENECA) & finishing up at 4pm with Online Marketing Spotlight Presented by Parkbench & Industry Mixer followed all over the city with more showcases.  
I was granted an ALL ACCESS Indie Week badge & Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 was my 1st stop to the official kick-off bash held upstairs although both floors had entertainment, I stuck to the main hall upstairs.  The Revival, where I got to sample act LGS (Le Groupe Swing) from Montreal, omg the frontman sang thru a walkie-talkie, bloody brilliant - unique - that SELLS.  Was there first Indie & were celebrating songs from their albums going back as far as 1999.  This sound filled me up & I was grinning ear to ear, a really passionate mix of traditional folk music blended with club beats, I would say some of their hits sounded like a tad Maroon 5 meets a wee bit Ben Folds Five, yet if you blend in heavy club beat laced with an extreme folky funky fiddle you get genius hits like C Kay,  Au Nom Du Pere. The audience was truly happy when they engaged us with CASH getting us pumped!!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o9s1FJTiw8&list=PLlsIzlmCl2aZv9VlNuGid639R7Ea3WGVv

Next, I enjoyed an all-female punk rock trio, Saskatchewan's The Wolfe who are becoming a household name as they gain momentum with their dark deep & rich 80's flavors mixed with a unique style all their own punk grunge making it feel like I was at a Joan Jett & Lita Ford showcase with songs like You're So Boring & Pig & The Hound. 
All the way from Chile, Adelaida was part of the opening ceremonies & I got to witness them critique & judge their essence on Friday night at The Hideout as they revved us up! This act was very confident & bore their souls thru their hits Fantasma, Holgrama & Columpio were a great mix of eclectic sounds similar to that of a hardcore thrashy version of The Clash, very emotional, totally in their zone, truly excitable on stage & super shy off stage.  
Double Experience from Ottawa rocked us next with a heavy Golden Earring sound that met with Finger 11 who thru in reggae licks, to be honest,  they rocked dozens of musical influences inside their quiver.  Then broke into a RUSH cover Tom Sawyer, which everyone knows I adore Rush, so what a way to grab my attention deeper & got to see them later in the week at The Hideout with me as one of their judges. 
I fell into a trance as a heavy metal glow ignited the stage with a fireball of kinetic energy all the way from Brazil, 2017's Indie Week Best of the Fest act ETNO, totally striking the stage ablaze with originals Sobreviver, Deliro then melded in a Red Hot Chili Pepper punch into a metal reggae moment & finished off with the song they won the 2017 Top Act with entitled (in English) Tomorrow in Portuguese means Amanha.
Unfortunately, I had to miss a portion of Izzie Walsh 

who was named Best of The Fest in Manchester UK on Oct 14th, & that fest boasted 5 nights at 8 venues showcasing 80+ acts, then she got to travel to Toronto to perform.  

I was stoked to witness the magic known as Dan McKinnon at The Joint as media, but, my duties as Judge disqualified me from judging that show, due to being bias. 

But,  I got to attend as an Indie Judge and announce the winners at The Hideout both Thurs. Nov. 8 and Fri. Nov. 9th in it's newest location.  For 12 years The Hideout was located in a smaller establishment within a darker older foundation there on Queen Street & now boasts a spacious & indulgent spot beside Sneaky Dees, fully equipped with the latest state of the art sound system and professional friendly sound tech, nice bright large stage at the 423 College Street local that hosts live entertainment 7 nights a week, comfy leather furniture & a perfected Wine bar, & the washroom was so unique painting quotes from famous women entertainers on the entrance to each stall

& a large sign atop the sink areas that read, "You're Amazing Don't Forget That."    

The entertainment that I had the pleasure to critique was pretty stellar,  making this truly a difficult task at picking just one talent each night.  I listened, scored & was asked to stand on stage in front of 100s of music execs & musicians, congratulating all acts on a job well done & got to announce the winner for those 2 nights.   Thursday nights lineup showcased Montreal's The Falling, Canada's Burn Apollo, with Nova Scotia's The Dead Minutes followed by Mississauga'sThe Crooked, France act Dot Legacy and Toronto's The Divided Line & the winner was Toronto's The Crooked.  Friday night showcased Jordan Allen from UK, Dona Cislene from Brazil &  Adelaida from Chile, Vancouver's Redwoods, Italy's Damien McFly, Walking with Bikes  & The Fallaways, both from the U.S
The winner went to Jordan Allen from the UK
Therefore, Wednesday & Thursday SEMI-FINALISTS were announced!  Our judges had the difficult task of choosing only one artist from each venue, out of all the amazing talent & hard working acts that come together to make this festival one-of-a-kind.  The Remaining Semi-Finals were held Friday, Nov. 9th & Sat Nov. 10th:

Baby G • Vox Somnia 
Bovine Sex Club • Decatur 
Brooklynn• The Mooks 
Cherry Cola’s • No Big Deal 
Garrison • Damian McFly 
Nightowl • Mponda Kalunga 
Painted Lady • The Love Tongues 
Supermarket • Civil Wray 
The Cameron House • Kelsi Mayne 
The Hideout • The Lad Classic 
The Joint • Jim Dan Dee 
The Paddock • Wooly
120 Diner • Mikalyn Hay 
B Side • Sabrina Soares 
Baby G • Jordan Allen 
Bovine Sex Club • Single by Sunday 
Brooklynn • Dylan Hennessy 
Cherry Cola’s • Double Experience 
Free Times • Benjamin Doerksen 
Garrison • Brandy Alexanders  
Nightowl • Twin Flames 
Painted Lady • Dawn Avenue 
Supermarket • SUNDAYS
The Cameron House • Ghost Caravan 
The Cavern Bar • Farewell Summer
The Hideout • The Crooked 
The Joint • Don Sawchuk & The Underdog Band
The Paddock • Towers & Trees 
Bovine Sex Club • Black Absinthe 
Brooklynn • Amy Guess 
B Side • Twenty-One Twenty
Cameron House • Max Parker  
Cherry Cola’s • MOLO 
Garrison • Tokyo Taboo 
Gladstone Hotel • Yung Saintz 
Painted Lady • GEORGI KAY  
Supermarket • Greezy Deckz
The Hideout • Dona Cislene 
The Joint • Ezra Jordan 
The Mod Club • Double Experience
The Paddock • Grown UP Avenger Stuff  
Viz A Viz • TRISS
                                        WINNERS FROM SAT. NOV. 10th
Cavern Bar • TRISS  
Cherry Cola’s • Ghost Caravan  
Free Times • Twin Flames
Painted Lady • GEORGI KAY  
Supermarket • Dona Cislene
The Joint • Dylan Hennessy 
The Paddock • Towers & Trees

Therefore, one selected act from each Semi Final’s venue went on to play at The Mod Club, Indie Week Awards on Sunday, Nov. 11th as the FINALISTS, (see photo below)
These acts got the opportunity to be chosen as Indie Week Canada's “Best of the Fest”Sunday, November 11th snuck up fast, yay my 1st INDIE WEEK Awards.
The ever 
engaging husband & wife duo Twin Flames opened the Award festivities & were mind-blowing, transporting us back in time thru Canada & even the Arctic spreading the voices of their ancestors as they project English, Inuttitut & French. 
Their invigorating originals Qimutsi'King (Lord of the Dogs), Oak Tree, She Remembers,  Broke Down Skituuq (Skidoo) & they even covered Gord Downie, bringing me to tears.

Vancouver's Towers & Trees followed with another fresh invigorating sound, West Coast, Bad Heart & Wayward Love got the audience in sync, swaying & cell phone lights held high.
3rd act of the night Greezy Deckz from Burlington started off with exceptional vocals & endless energy, until, that wet & not so wild moment occurred, yip he threw water all over our cameras & spraying it as far back as the bar hitting yet another professional lense.  Truly immature for doing so, leaving us media not impressed.   He asked the audience to cheer for him as I yelled out, "What about our cameras?" His response was sorry about that, but, that is why they call me Greezy Deckz & continued performing.  Stunned was not even close to the word I would use.   First & foremost, at such an event held in high esteem, & his first Indie, you would think he might have given consideration to the 4 media & whisper down to us you may want to vacate, but, nope, drops it right on my non waterproof camera, which wasn't bagged, but, who the heck knew.  I then enjoyed the show mostly from the right side of the stage which was a great idea, further into the show as last act engaged a usual mosh pit & I am definitely too old for that pit thrashing, shoving & falling down kind of engagement.   THEREFORE, NO PHOTOS OF THIS DISAPPOINTING PERFORMANCE.

Next, was the truly talented and engaging soloist, a British Australian artist named Georgi Kay from Los Angeles. She perfected her originals alongside electronic beats, bass, synths captivating us with hits from her 11th album WIGTD OUT NOW featuring Where I Go to Disappear and Valentine, just to name but a few. 
BEST INDEPENDENT PRODUCER AWARD was presented to Gavin Brown.

 Dona Cislene once again all the way from Brazil & their sound was a true crowd pleaser. 

BEST URBAN ARTISTS AWARD went to "Bubasetta" from Chile.

TRISS, a 4 piece mounted the stage with knowledge, confidence, professionalism & their jumpsuits all matched....I knew before they started, these kids are genius.  Sure enough, two keyboardists played their own guitar & bass guitar while perfecting that 80s techno club sound on their magic boxes and keys, multi-taskers.   Vocals blended nicely as the audience started to dance & cheer from all over that hall. 


Next, featured below to the left was the most talked about artist that night, Dylan Hennessy took to the stage, the chants became we love you Dylan.  

The Redhill Valleys.

I totally found another hidden gem amongst oodles of gifted musicians, Ghost Caravan is an all-girl band from Hamilton, let me tell ya, all eyes were glued to their every syllable.  I am partial to this kind of open act, tremendous vocals, striking command of their instrument & not shy! 
Finely calibrated & cerebral hits Free, We Can Dance, You & Damn You were harmonically fluid filled with indulgent & expansive orchestral rock blended exceptional masterpieces. This act is quintessentially centric & their unique sound has carved a niche for itself.  

BEST INTERNATIONAL EMERGING ARTIST & the winner was Dot Legacy from France who also got big news at the festival, they officially signed up with Paquin Artists Agency.

Two more gasoline-fueled playful acts closed the show featuring Canada's powerhouse Double Experience was first followed by slam pit creators & 
2017's big winner from Brazil, ETNO jumped into position, man can these boys move.  Non-stop between the frontman & bassist, making it extremely hard to capture thru my camera lens.  With 16 years under their belts, ENTO is a thunderously epic sound & one of my favorites this year, you have to tune into their original grungy metal grind, try Sobre Vivir or perhaps sample their Delirio which vocalist has that Led Zepplinish taste or Tomorrow in Portuguese means Amanha.   
ETNO presented 2018 BEST of The FEST to TRISS.  Man, I felt wicked inside to know that who I thought would win ..did & that I was on the same thought processes as the judge were.  These 4 piece ambitious souls, finely calibrated synth sound won the highest award for the 2018 Indie Week Canada.  Congrats to TRISS, all the way from South Korea.  We will be seeing a lot more of them that's a given as they win a trip to headline Indie Week UK 2019 as well they will headline Coma Fest in Brazil 2019.
 A very emotional group of musicians seen here moments after their names were announced! Surrounded below by Indie Week founder & team!!
This year's festivities were PRESENTED BY:
Jack Daniels
Hop City Brewing Co.
Slaight Music 

Music Ontario 

Sonic Bids

Along with Showcasing Partners:
Seneca College, Pour Montreal, Fluvial, COMA, Electic Comfort, HotVox, Pyramid Cabaret, Park Bench 13, Dusty Pop Entertainment, Red Jam Records, Pro Chile,  X Plus International, Lyric Find, Isreal Consulate General.

Combined with Media Partners: 

& Canadian Musician, CUE Digital, Tosta Mista, NOW Magazine.

 with full backline provided by Long & McQuade 
Ticketed by ShowPass.
Music has come along way in this day & age, now introducing Lyric Find a huge tool all week long to interpret each language into English on the screens.  They are the fasted known momentum for gaining tracks in a lyric search, display or gaining tracks in a lyric series offering lyric search, display & synchronization services for all types of platforms, uses & budgets is the world's leader in licensed lyrics with licensing from over 4,000 music publishers that reach out to the communities.  

The committee thanked FACTOR, the Government of Canada & Canada’s private radio broadcasters for funding in part.  As well, Indie Week thanked Ontario Music for being a huge part of this year's festivities 2018.

I would like to personally thank the festival & committee for having me on board as media, event Judge & announcer at The Hideout.  Also, thanks for encouraging me to check out the Panels & Judges section once again for next year, count me in!!!
Some more random faces of Indie Week Canada (Toronto) 2018