This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The Orillia Kiwanis Music Festival normally happens during the month of April. Obviously there’s a bit of a problem doing it this year, but it’s not cancelled.

Festival president, Don Haskins, told me they went online with it. Entrants can submit a video of their performance by Friday. The number of categories to compete in has been scaled back to piano and creative music, instrumental (includes brass and woodwinds), vocal, strings, and guitar. All the ensemble categories had obvious logistical issues so those are gone.

Amanda Stanton is the artistic director, having taken over from Blair Bailey who stickhandled it for over 30 years. She was the person Don said had the idea to do a virtual festival.

He also said only three people who had entered by the original deadline asked to have their entry cancelled and get a refund of fees. He also said some entrants who decided not to participate converted their fee to a donation to the festival.

“Considering everything that’s going on and a lot of other music festivals have just plain cancelled, I think this is great,” Don said.

Videos submitted will be reviewed by the judges and marks awarded as per usual. Participants will get their gold, silver or bronze awards. The last Monday in May is usually the annual Stars of the Festival concert at the Opera House. Those participants are selected by the judges, and the judges will still be making those recommendations. Instead of a live concert, festival organizers are leaning toward putting together an online concert, possibly on their Facebook page, but they have not chosen a date for it yet.

Cheque Please

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) announced a program to advance royalties to composers and artists. While this writer has had some issues in the past about copyright legislation they backed, in this case SOCAN is doing something important.

Many musicians have had their livelihoods stopped completely. Album releases have been postponed, concerts cancelled, the ability to get together with others to record and make music stopped. For many the avenues for getting cash to keep going got infinitely harder than it is under normal conditions. SOCAN is making interest free loans and there are other emergency actions being considered.

They are prioritizing applications from musicians who lost live performance royalties and composers with productions in shutdown.

SOCAN has set aside $2 million for emergency royalty advances. It is primarily aimed at songwriters and screen composers (movie and television work has also been sidelined). It’s not extra money, but advances based on recent earnings, urgency and need. Individual applications will be assessed separately.

To apply contact SOCAN at 1-866-307-6226, or by email at SOCAN also has a handy list of links and info for musicians related to the COVID situation here.

Live Streaming Developments

Facebook and Instagram are investigating how to allow musicians and others doing online events have a way to monetize those things. This may range from pay-per-view to advertising. Facebook is also experimenting with having two, or maybe more, people on the same ‘sending out’ side of a stream, which sounds a lot like using Zoom (why are you using Zoom considering the security issues?). They are also expanding what they call their Stars program , which is kind of like giving viewers the opportunity to give a thumbs up, but with financial reward.

It also should be noted, Twitch already allows some monetization of streams, so there’s something to investigate as a way to generate some revenue.

The Shorts

Here is a list of musicians (in no particular order) that have been doing concerts online.

Zachary Lucky w/Nordvis Records May 8, 8 p.m.

Essential Concert Series  Thursdays, 8 p.m.

Steven Henry, Saturday’s, 8 p.m.

Bleeker, Facebook, Sundays, 6 p.m.

Bleeker, Instagram, Tursdays, 8 p.m.

*   VK and the Legends of the Deep have a new video out Friday. It’s Smelling Like Roses from the Charm album.

*  The Orillia Public Library has a number of things you can do online through their website. They have games and programs to participate in as individuals or in groups. You can download music, movies and audiobooks. You can also take online courses.

(Photos and Images Submitted)

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