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Edmonton music venues hope for business boom during JUNOFest


For more than 35 years, The Starlite Room has been centre stage when it comes to entertaining Edmontonians with live music.

Now, as the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, music venues are struggling to stay afloat.

“Venues are trying to reopen and just trying to do their best to stay open at this point and so are artists,” owner Tyson Boyd said.

Just days away from Canada's biggest annual celebration of music, the Juno Awards at Rogers Place on Monday, one local talent buyer says it's getting harder to book shows in Edmonton.

“I really kind of wish that we could put our best foot forward and say, 'Hey, we got 20 amazing venues that you can see all these artists and right now we only have six,” Brent Oliver told CTV News Edmonton.

At the start of February, The Station on Jasper was the latest local venue to fall victim to what industry experts call a lack of support from the municipal and provincial governments.

“There really needs to be a better look at where funding is going, how it’s being received and how it’s being used and definitely, particularly with infrastructure for live entertainment,” Tyson said.

There was not enough funding available for venues to make a full recovery following the pandemic, according to one city councillor.

"It's not about just having the venue, it's about packing the venue. And I think there's more that we can be doing just to showcase what events are happening where and when, really to amplify the already good work that's happening in the city," Michael Janz said.

He added that support from the provincial government would go a long way toward rebuilding the city's live music scene.

In a statement to CTV News Edmonton, the province highlighted a new study focused on growing live music in Alberta. Specific funding will be negotiated after the study is complete.

“There really needs to be a concentrated approach to recognize the value of live music in a city like ours so we can really showcase it when the Juno’s come to town because that’s a big deal!” Oliver said.

There are 30 live shows planned at venues across the city as part of JUNOFest, including some at The Starlite Room.

The shows start Friday and run up until the official after party featuring rapper and singer k-os at The Common downtown. Top Stories

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