While the who’s who of Canada’s music scene will gather in Saskatoon for the 49th Juno Awards, Saskatchewan is hoping to surprise the nation with good music and good beer.
Saskatoon first hosted the Juno Awards in 2007, and according to Sarah Berger, director of media for Tourism Saskatoon, a lot has changed in the Paris of the Prairies.
“I think that the people that were here in 2007, they’re in for a really great surprise when they get here this year,” said Berger. “I’ll say our culinary scene, there are very many restaurants in Saskatoon that are locally owned … as well as our breweries and our distilleries in the city.”
One local brewery gets a special chance to shine by hopefully offering its beer to famous nominees such as Alessia Cara or Jann Arden.
“We’re the beer provider for the red carpet at SaskTel center,” said Shawn Moen, CEO and co-founder of 9 Mile Legacy Brewing in Saskatoon.
“But probably our signature involvement with the Junos is at the banquet … We’re like a wine sponsor that you would see at a banquet where there’s a bottle of wine on the table, except it’s a 750 ml growler filled with a really special beer.
“That growler won’t be for sale to the public, but we’re going to give away a few.”
In addition to the brewery’s banquet involvement on Saturday, 9 Mile Legacy Brewing is also one of 12 venues featuring over 50 artists as part of the two-day JUNOfest prior to the awards ceremony.
“We’re about a thousand square feet, about 50 people capacity,” said Moen. “So this is the very definition of an intimate show.”
@TheJUNOAwards are upon us!
Tickets available here -> https://t.co/AeAuZYvmWd and the taproom will fill up fast!
— 9 Mile Legacy Brewing (@9MileLegacy) March 7, 2020
Juno Week started Monday, with the main event taking place Sunday at the SaskTel Centre, where nominees can receive one of 36 Juno Awards.
“Everything is in place,” said Berger. “We were joking about how it’s kind of the calm before the storm.”
People hoping to spot some superstars strolling along the South Saskatchewan river will have to wait a couple more days, with the majority of delegates arriving Thursday and Friday. Although it’s a national event, a lot of Saskatchewan talent is involved in the Junos. Regina-based band The Dead South are not only nominated for Traditional Roots Album Of The Year but will also perform during the Juno Awards night.
Saskatoon music fan Jordana Knoblauch will be able to compare the 2007 show with this year’s event. The 28-year-old attended the last Junos in Saskatoon.
“ I think I was like 11,” said Knoblauch. “My mom bought tickets for my grandma and my sister and I, so girls night. It was fun.”
She originally was hoping to see superstars like Drake, who is not nominated for a Juno Award. However, this doesn’t hold her back to enjoy the night with her friends.
“We’ll probably want to get really fancy,” said Knoblauch. “It’s just a good experience to get dressed up.”
The Saskatonian agrees with Berger that her city has seen many changes in recent years.
“I think we’re just having a better appreciation for the arts,” said Knoblauch.
“It’s good to bring that kind of stuff to Saskatoon … because then, you know, the people in Saskatoon don’t have to travel somewhere else and spend their dollars somewhere else. You’re spending it in your own city … people don’t just come to Saskatoon just on their own will. They’ll come here for a reason, but then they’ll fall in love once they get here.”
Saskatchewan is well-known for its stereotypically cold temperatures. As reported in a one-week forecast, Saskatoon might surprise its visitors with warm-ish temperatures of -9 degrees.
The city expects nearly 200 nominees and almost 100 performers. According to Berger, a number of hotels in the downtown core are already sold out. The 2018 Junos in Vancouver had an economic impact of over 12 million dollars.