The Canadian Country Music Awards are returning to Calgary for a record 10th time.
The 40th annual CCMAs will also be bringing a week of country music to the city, with a number of live performances scheduled to take place prior to the award ceremony on Sept. 11.
The event is expected to inject $12 million into Calgary’s economy.
Tuesday’s announcement also marked the first live performances held at the Country Music Hall of Fame at the National Music Centre in more than two years. Local pop-country artist Megan Dawson and 26-time CCMA winner Gord Bamford played a short set of songs.
“The city of Calgary has, as all of you know, a very rich music history… A Canadian country music history,” said Andrew Mosker, founding president and CEO of the NMC.
Tickets for the CCMAs, which will be held at the Saddledome, go on sale May 20. Prices are starting at $50. Fans looking to pre-purchase tickets up until then can find special pre-purchase codes on CCMA social media channels.
Important to bring back live music
The first round of CCMA membership voting began last week on May 11. Contenders from that round of voting will decide on the top 10 finalists in each category. The third round of voting to take place in July, and will decide the final top 5 nominees.
Last year Canadian country music superstar Brett Kissel took home the fan choice award. Albertan Tenille Townes took home her third Female Artist of the Year award in a row. Dallas Smith, who was recognized as one the most played Canadian country acts in 2021, took home the Male Artist of the Year award.
Amy Jeninga, president of the CCMA, said that it was extremely important for the organization to bring the award ceremony back to Calgary this year.
“It just feels really fitting and right to have a 40th here,” she said.
“This community’s absolutely incredible; great fans, such incredible talent from here, and it’s obviously also amazing to have the Country Music Hall of Fame here. It just felt like the perfect community to celebrate it in.”
She said that being able to bring fans back to live performances at the CCMA was also really important. Especially after two years of the pandemic.
“Over the last couple of years I’ve been truly moved by how everybody’s still managed to stay together and uplift each other, but being back in person and together it just means the world to all of us.”
Host chair for the 2022 awards, Ben Graham, said that there was a demand from fans to return to in-person events.
“It’s gonna be a big deal. The amount of fans that will come to the city to participate in this—we’ve seen at other shows so far a huge demand, whether it’s the Flames games or the Edmonton Oilers,” he said.
“So I think it’s going to be a really great week, not just at the culmination at the Saddledome, but also throughout the venues that are going to be packed.”
Big boost to the local economy
Mayor Jyoti Gondek said that nothing beats performers reconnecting with Calgarians in person.
“I spent time speaking with a lot of artists, including musicians and performers during the pandemic, and of course, I had those conversations over Zoom and (Microsoft) Teams, and it’s really tough. It’s tough to do the performance and not watch it land with people,” she said.
Mayor Gondek spoke about the impact this will have on the city’s hospitality industry. Overall the CCMAs are expected to generate in excess of $12 million for the city’s GDP.
“To be able to have events coming back is tremendous for the economy and for all of those business owners. Never mind the fact that we’ve got Stampede coming up,” she said.
“It is critical for our city to be a host city, especially for events like this, when you think about the arts and culture scene and what it does in terms of providing great quality of life for people.”
She said the benefits go beyond the $12 million in making Calgary an attractive place to live. It also allows employers to attract the talent needed to fill jobs in the economy.
“People who want to live in Calgary also want to have the opportunity to play here. It’s events like this that make that happen,” she said.