Ottawa, ON. – Perhaps I should write about Route 66 and how the mystery of the energy vortices on that stretch of highway created a synergy that produced the serendipitous moment of celebration that occurred in Ottawa, Canada for the 41st JUNO Awards Weekend celebrations.
However, the last time the JUNO Awards were presented in Ottawa was in 2003. And I don’t recall a specific article that made a co-relation between Route 66 and the Canadian Juno Awards. Therefore, I best stick to what I know – my experiences at the JUNOs.
In 2003, I attended the JUNO Awards Gala in Ottawa, and had a blast. I went with a star-crazed friend who hadn’t forewarned me. As we stood behind the ropes of the red carpet being elbowed by fans, my friend began screaming hysterically at the celebrities as they made their way towards the ceremonies. As I personally knew some of the artists, I quickly made my way to the doors of the building with my embarrassment, and hid. By the time she finished her star-screaming, the ceremonies had begun, and we had to make our way to our seats, which at this point would have been relatively impossible. So, I gave way to my situation, and decided to sit in the upper bar at Scotiabank Place (then the Corel Centre), forgoing my gala seating for an evening of drinks and a TV screen’s view of the ceremonies.
As I often do, I made conversation with the people around the bar completely oblivious to the events that were to transpire. As the gala came to an end, the glass dividers surrounding the venue began to close and security was placed at the door. Thinking the bar was closing for the night, I asked for my tab. But as people began to arrive, I realized that everything that was everything in Canadian music was about to go down around me. One by one, the 2003 JUNO Award winners and nomimees, the suits and jewels, began to arrive … and there was little old me, sipping my martini at the bar.
I couldn’t have planned it better. Unbenounced to me, my tribe was arriving! Having worked in media and entertainment in Toronot, and now raising my son in Ottawa, the familiar vernacular, jeans and buzz in the room felt like a homecoming. I got caught up on industry business, gossip, and with friends I hadn’t seen in years. I had more fun hanging out at the bar than I would have in a seat on the floor with a star-crazed friend.
And so it was, once again, at this year’s 41st JUNO Awards Celebration Weekend in Ottawa… but, this time, without a star-crazed friend.
With the Awards Gala on the Sunday evening, I knew Toronto-based friends would be in town over the course of the weekend. However, it hadn’t occurred to me that the synergy of 2003 was still alive within me.
All around town, various venues were hosting phenomenal local, regional and national multi-acts all weekend. And when it came to, ‘where should I be?’ I followed my nose. For Friday’s celebrations, Mavericks was the place me. The line-up of performers was my cup of tea …. The Beauties, The Good Lovelies, Luke Doucet, Jenn Grant, The Sadies, Daniel Romano, Wayne Petti, Oh Susanna, NQ Arbuckle, Dustin Bentall/Kendel Carson, Devin Cuddy and more, and more, and more.
And as it turns out, it was the place to be. Go figure! As the stage performances began to wind down, an ocean of suits arrived discreetly, followed by Ron Sexsmith, Tom Wilson, and Jim Cuddy.
As I made my way to the back to say hello to Ron, I was scooped up by Tom Wilson and was given the big bear-hug he is known for. Once again, the tribe was in town, and I got caught up on industry business, gossip, and with friends I hadn’t seen in a while.
What can I say? Serendipity? Being at the right place at the right time? Or, maybe it does have something to do with that Route 66…
Patricia Lever is an Ottawa-based radio announcer with 101.9 DAWG-FM and a freelance writer.