Canada Day in Kanata opens call for bands.
Local pop-rock band Keek opened for Kim Mitchell during last year’s Canada Day in Kanata celebration. The event committee is searching for a local group to open for headliner Trooper at this year’s festivities.
The Canada Day in Kanata committee is searching for a local group to open for this year’s headlining act Trooper at the July 1st celebration.
Last year, more than 50 applications were received with 23 youth bands vying for the coveted opening slot. Local pop-rock band Keek was selected to open for Kim Mitchell. The five-piece ensemble played for a crowd of more than 30,000 people at Walter Baker Park.
“It was awesome; it was definitely my favourite Canada Day,” said Conor Whitehead, who sings main vocals. “It was a riot playing that stage, being up there doing what we love.”
The members of Keek – which include Nathan Pearce on guitar and vocals, Matt Belanger on bass and vocals, Marek Luban on guitar and vocals, and Kyle “Willy” Williams on keys and vocals – had the opportunity to chat with Kim Mitchell after last year’s show.
“I grew up listening to his stuff so it was an honour to meet the man,” said Whitehead.
He said the exposure from the gig helped the band become better known in the city.
“The exposure is awesome; it’s a great chance to really celebrate your country,” Whitehead said. “Every day after that for a couple weeks, and even up to now, I have people come up to me saying ‘I saw you on Canada Day.’”
He said Diane McNulty, program director and stage manager, and the rest of the committee took great care of the band and the event was “really well organized.”
“If anyone is really thinking about playing Canada Day … just go for it. Don’t hesitate,” said Whitehead. “It’s definitely worth it; it’s a lot of fun. I’d definitely do it again.”
‘SO MUCH TALENT’
Diane McNulty, program director and stage manager for the Canada Day committee, said the hardest part of organizing the event is choosing an opening band.
“The biggest problem we have when we do the call for bands is we have so much talent,” she said. “We’re constantly blown away by the submissions.”
Playing the stage on Canada Day is a great experience for bands because it gives them experience performing for a large crowd, said McNulty. It also showcases amazing local talent.
“These are musicians from your own backyard,” she said, adding the committee is always blown away by the calibre of talent year after year. “It’s so difficult for us to choose which bands are going to perform at Canada Day.”
Another perk is the chance to interact with the headlining band, said McNulty. Many times the opening act will have a chance to talk shop with the headliner.
The deadline for this year’s call for bands is April 26. Applications can be dropped off or mailed to “Kanata Canada Day Inc., c/o Diane McNulty, 38 Torcastle Way, Kanata, ON. K2L 2Y6.”
Those invited to perform at the 2013 event will be notified by May 31.
Kanata Canada Day Inc. has been supporting local artists since it took over the running of the event in 2005, said McNulty.
“That’s the whole point we do what we do ... give them a platform,” she said. “It’s showcasing local talent.”
This year, applications will be accepted from all solo artists and bands, but the opening number will go to a performer or group with artists age 24 and under.
A panel of five judges will select the winning band or artist based on vocals, the arrangement and difficulty of the music, originality, execution, how well the music fits with the headline artist and the band or artist’s live performance dynamics. The headline artist has the final approval on all opening acts.
“You have to perform your own material,” said McNulty, adding bands should keep in mind Canada Day is a family-friendly event.
Criteria for eligible bands and artists include:
* The majority of the band must live in the Kanata, Stittsville, Goulbourn or West Carleton areas.
* To qualify as young music artists, the majority of the band must be age 24 or younger.
* All styles of music will be accepted.
* The band or artist must be considered a new or emerging artist, who creates and performs original music.
A number of bands and musicians who have played the Canada Day in Kanata event have gone on to play at Bluesfest and other music festivals, including Amos the Transparent, Keek and Lucas Haneman.
For more information and to request an application, email email@example.com.