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culture

Dear Canadian Music Week, It’s Not Us, It’s You

Why is Canada's oldest multi-venue music festival seen as a weak, sloppy knock-off? We offer six reasons.

20130322 cmw 2013 the indies 002 374 photo by corbin smith

Cold Specks was fantastic at this year’s CMW. The festival as a whole? Not so much.

If you were paying attention to the local Twittersphere over the course of the last week, you probably saw a fair bit of mention of Canadian Music Week. Many of those mentions were comparing it to the city’s other major music festival, North by Northeast, and the comparisons were almost universally negative. The consensus was basically as follows: even if you’re working it as a writer, PR hack, or record-industry type, North by Northeast is fun. CMW is an event where you can see some great bands, but will generally leave frustrated.

We’re inclined to agree. There’s plenty to like about CMW, of course, which is why we spent a week writing about its shows. But even though it’s older and better established than North by Northest, it’s now vastly outshone by its younger counterpart.

Here are six things that are wrong with CMW, and how they can be fixed.

1 The branding is terrible.

Is this Canadian Music Week or Canadian Music Fest? Apparently it’s both. Canadian Music Week is the overarching week-long music-industry shindig, which features a conference, as well as comedy and film festivals. Canadian Music Fest is just the music festival. However, your Canadian Music Fest bracelet will also get you into the comedy shows and the film screenings. Clear? No?

If Canadian Music Week/Fest/whatever wants to generate a little more enthusiasm about its event, its organizers could start by figuring out what the hell it’s called.

2 There are no rules.

While your wristband will get you into comedy shows, there’s no guarantee it’ll let you see many bands. Far too many concerts this year were labeled “limited passes and wristbands allowed.” What that actually meant varied from venue to venue. At the Mod Club, it meant that there was a cap on the number wristbands let in to see CHVRCHES. At The Crawford, it meant that there were no wristbands let in after midnight, regardless of how few people were in the bar, and also regardless of the fact that during a festival, most people like to move between venues. Add to that the fact that holders of VIP wristbands were still required to line up, and you’re left with the impression that CMW’s festival passes are near worthless.

It’s pretty clear that some establishments are just using CMW as an excuse to stay open later. This happens at NXNE, too, but at least they have to put in some sort of effort. Let’s make it clear what a bracelet or pass does and doesn’t entitle a festival-goer to do. It would also be helpful if CMW would set some clear expectations for its venues.

3 The big acts aren’t accessible.

If there’s one thing North by Northeast does well, it’s making big-name acts accessible. Over the years, we’ve managed to see the likes of Ghostface Killah, Iggy Pop, and The Flaming Lips for free, in Yonge-Dundas Square. CMW, on the other hand, tosses big names on the bill, then makes them hard to see. The A$AP Rocky and Rihanna show was largely sold out before a single wristband was allowed in. The Grade and Choke showcase at the Mod Club, Austra, and Action Bronson were all limited-pass shows. CMW puts big names on its posters, but for many attendees this ends up being a form of bait and switch.

Either keep the festival restricted to unknowns, rising stars, and blog-buzz bands, or make sure people can actually see the the megastars.

4 There are too many mistakes.

The app doesn’t work. The set times on the website are wrong. Shows require special, previously unknown “media guestlists” for photographers. Headliners cancel without warning.

A 32 year-old festival should be smoother than this. Period.

5 There are too few repeat performances.

During NXNE, most bands have at least two gigs. If a band has a good show, it allows them to build a buzz and play before a bigger crowd the next time around. At CMW, most bands only play once. This is unfortunate. Finding those word-of-mouth hits is one of the most enjoyable parts of NXNE.

Why not give CMW’s performers some sort of opportunity to build buzz throughout the festival? The organizers could cut the number of bands and try to give each band two shows.

6 Who the hell is in charge of quality control?

There were 1,000 bands playing CMW. Some of them were excellent, but there were far too many generic rawk bands, industrial acts that dressed like Orgy tribute bands, and rappers who couldn’t find a decent rhyme scheme if it kneed them in the face. We realize registration fees have become a cash cow for CMW’s organizers, but the money has clearly blinded them to the fact there are some truly bad bands on the roster. There are far, far too many deluded musicians wasting everyone’s time at CMW. Someone needs to listen to these demos more carefully.

Listen, CMW. We want to love you. You’re a venerable institution. We saw some great shows this year. Unfortunately, we also saw some terrible ones, and missed others entirely because the schedule was wrong, or we couldn’t get in and no one would tell us why, or else they cancelled at the last minute.

Until you fix these things, you’ll always be seen as the discount-store knock-off version of North by Northeast, even if you were here first.

Comments

  • Cyril Sneer

    Nice summary. #2 and 6 are my biggest complaints. I’m a big music nerd but I’ve never found CMW to be a very compelling event. NXNE continues to be awesome though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=28110435 Kate Roberts

    “We realize registration fees have become a cash cow for CMW’s organizers, but the money has clearly blinded them to the fact there are some truly bad bands on the roster. There are far, far too many deluded musicians wasting everyone’s time at CMW. Someone needs to listen to these demos more carefully.”

    Bang on, I play with a few bands and would never apply to this festival because the registration fees and process is completely unreasonable – you have to go through sonic bids (pay Sonic bids to use their service) and then through that service, you have to pay more to apply to CMW just to get the organizers to receive your demo, and then who knows if they even listen to it, they seem to care more about facebook likes and how good or bad your website and online presence is, leading to mediocre and repetitive acts – my experience with CMW has been the same as yours and I’ve skipped out on it for the past 4 years because of it.

    • nevilleross

      What the frack ever happened to radio breaking new bands? Why do we need all of this technological gimcrack to do it instead?

  • clementine

    Ron Sexsmith was amazing. Hands down the best concert I have ever seen.

  • http://ridethetempo.com Tiana Feng

    You said everything I wanted to say. I had a media wristband and was half an hour earlier for 8pm doors at CHVRCHES. Probably the 4th person in line. If it was NXNE I would have got in no problem. However CMW is a cash grab so they let in ticket goers and any people wanting to “buy a ticket” first. There was even a VIP wristband guy behind me that had to wait.

    We waited until about 8:15pm only to find there was some unmentioned guestlist for photographers and only 10 people have been approved. We were told that this was a “hot show” but what is considered a hot show? Everything that people actually wanted to see? A group of us later argued our way in (and it was almost 9pm) to find that there in fact was hardly any other photographers.

    NXNE has a better policy where if you waited early, you get in, no further questions asked. The stupid thing about CMW Is that their “headliners” aren’t even headliners. They are just shows that happened to be in the same week as CMW (and were already sold out) where as NXNE let’s everyone have the opportunity to see a variety of cool bands.

  • kaimcn

    I’d recommend that they hold it just once in any other place in Canada or change the name. Only Toronotonians would think the rest of Canada cares about CMW.

    • jmup

      Untrue. Torontonians know nobody cares about CMW.

      • kaimcn

        hahaha, fair enough

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Should the ROM and AGO relocate to other cities in Ontario to prove their validity as institutions?

      • kaimcn

        Obviously. Buildings are the same as music festivals, which we all know can never move at all ever.

        Toronto isn’t the only city in Canada, hosting CANADA Music Week there every year excludes musicians, media and participants from other parts of Canada. Do you see the connection?

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          What I see is someone unaware of planes, trains and automobiles. The name is not a barrier to entry for musicians (or comedians, or speakers) or the audience.

    • treptower

      They should hold it in Montreal where they know how to run a proper festival.

  • Anon

    The main reason… everyone wants to go to WMC in miami which also happens then same week, Who wants to be in the cold.

  • http://twitter.com/Zeezek Sonja
  • Amber

    don’t forget about that time at choke when they stopped choke in the middle of their set to give “100 free jager shots” away. that was probably the worst thing to happen to music.

    • Allan Puna

      I agree that this was cringe-worthy. They did the same thing with Drambuie at the Danforth Music Hall.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neville-Ross/100002343524258 Neville Ross

        That’s what happens when you let corporations sponsor art and music festivals.

  • Jeff

    Completely agree. I’d also like to add a #7: Ease up on the Social Media!
    I had to unfollow their accounts weeks before the fest/week/whatever purely because they were posting way too much irrelevant material or stuff that all seemed to be in some sort of circle jerk promotion system.

    • Andy

      which isn’t surprising considering audioblood runs their social media. They probably were just promoting mostly their own clients the whole time.

      • Jeff

        Well that makes sense! Who’s paying who for that?

    • Geoph30

      Big +1 on “circle jerk promotion”, why is nobody talking about this

  • Trevor

    Neil Dixon knows CMW/F is so well entrenched, that people will go no matter the quality of the festival or how many of these articles are written every year. And they are written EVERY YEAR. Every year there are new students and enough bloggers and media to dupe enough people into buying useless wristbands to see shit music. (The reason a wristband won’t get you in to Nick Cave is that show will actually make money off ticket sales, it won’t off wristbands.) And music fans in Toronto think this is how these things are suppose to go. This is not a real festival. It’s a cash cow, though only for the guy on top. CMW is a pyramid scheme making money on the back of the dream/lie of “making it.” If you go, if you play, you’re a sucker.

  • Kristin

    7. The app and website were extremely miss managed/disorganized, I couldn’t even find out what band was on the stage when I was watching them!

  • Joe

    Don’t forget Ticketmaster fucking charging out the ass. $30 for stars tickets plus a $10 “convenience” charge. It’s bullshit. I want to pay the band and the venue directly without having to get caught up with that nonsense. If this is really about celebrating Canadian music then kicking Ticketmaster to the curb should be no problem.

  • cyvil

    As a performer, I have to agree with all of this.
    A lot of us ended up doing all of the promo ourselves… most, if not all, of the lesser-known acts (some of which who -were- amazing) were virtually ignored entirely by the twitter and facebook accounts repeatedly (despite asking for links/cmw accts/etc), which is one of the only possible promotional vehicles for them among the Rihanna/etc hype.
    As a side note – having also attended the conferences, it was interesting to note how most of those in the industry (labels, promoters, agents, etc) repeatedly vocalized their distaste in the “pay to possibly play’ services like Sonicbids, despite the fact that CMW is itself entrenched that world.

    • nevilleross

      As a side note – having also attended the conferences, it was interesting to note how most of those in the industry (labels, promoters, agents, etc) repeatedly vocalized their distaste in the “pay to possibly play’ services like Sonicbids, despite the fact that CMW is itself entrenched that world.

      They should get pissy with the radio industry and tell them to cut down on the large amount of pop music that’s played all of the time, and also to start being more like Indie 88.1.

  • Michael

    The most bizarre experience for me was on Saturday. I had a media wristband and despite the guy at the Dakota Tavern acknowledging that I was media, I almost had to line up for five minutes despite the fact that a) the venue wasn’t at capacity and b) there was no one in line. The “there are no rules” point is so ridiculously spot on.

    • http://twitter.com/fyang Frank Yang

      well at least they were consistent in disrespecting the wristband. they did the same thing at CHVRCHES, as Tiana described. I think the guy went out onto the street looking for potential ticket-buyers rather than let wristbands in.

      • http://ridethetempo.com Tiana Feng

        and like I stated, the problem is that most of these headliners probably don’t even belong to CMW but their respective venues/promoters so the favouring ticket-buyers (even if there are none) happens.

        • Aleksa

          you just hit on my #1 pet peeve about CMW….i hate that they claim acts who just happen to be passing through town…come on, they have been selling their own tickets for months!

      • Michael

        Yikes. This all just makes me want NXNE to come sooner.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andres.hannahsuarez Andres Hannah-Suarez

      Lol, I never go to the Dakota during a music fest for that reason. I’ve been totally frustrated in the past as I stand in line seeing people with wristbands and not leave the venue all the while the bouncer keeps insisting that it’s at capacity.

      I’ve warned people about the Dakota in the past.

    • Allan Puna

      Wow, 5 minutes outside? What an ordeal.

      • treptower

        Why should you line up AT ALL when there is absolutely no reason to do so? It’s as if people in Toronto are programmed to accept this kind of b.s.

      • http://ridethetempo.com Tiana Feng

        there were far longer waits than 5 minutes and the door people didn’t seem to care that there were VIP (people who actually PAID double the price of a regular wristband) in the lines.

  • http://twitter.com/fyang Frank Yang

    also at one point was told by a festival rep that there were too many accredited media to accomodate – if that’s the case, maybe accredit less media and allow the rest to do their jobs? oh, and closing accred pick-up at 6PM is ridiculous. people have day jobs.

  • Kenny Reload

    I felt a bit of a sense of proud defiance going to see the surprise Pocket Dwellers show on Friday simply because it had nothing to do with this ridiculous “festival”. Such a welcoming atmosphere with no BS is a welcome change during this special week of March.

  • Michael

    Quick question, 1000 bands and you are complaining?…giving every band an equal opportunity to showcase, shite or not, is what this type of music festivals is about? If it wasn’t CMW or NXNE would just be Cochella and only proven artists get showcased? Where can an artist live the dream to be discovered?

    • me again

      Most of the complaints I read here are about self interest, sorry to say this is not about you, this is about music.

      • Winkee

        But it’s not about the music, it’s about making money for a very small group of people and businesses.

        • me again

          Yes and the small group everyone wants to be part of…you cannot tell me any one of those artists would give up the chance to make money and be in control. One cannot live by ideals alone…ideals usually only a guidance..

    • http://ridethetempo.com Tiana Feng

      Artists should never “live the dream” by relying on things where you pay to play. This goes for any “Battle of the Bands”, Supernova etc. There definitely should be some sort of quality filter just so you’re not wasting anybody’s time, including your own (and your money to travel etc).

      NXNE has just as many bands, and a lot of great new and unknown things every year. Also, the way they run things (every artist/media can go to the panels) is far better and musicians have a chance to network with the right people without spending tons.The bands at CMW have to choke up the money for a delegate pass if they want to see panels. It is a far more friendlier atmosphere at NXNE.

      • Me again!!

        I do not see much similarity between the two….apples and oranges…CMW is mostly business, NXNE is mostly beer and BBQ

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      “This tastes revolting, but I’m sure glad they serve it by the bucket!”

      Quality will always trump quantity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andres.hannahsuarez Andres Hannah-Suarez

    Most of that stuff I agree with, but I knew it already so know the pitfalls and avoid.

    So in order: #1 Branding is Terrible

    Totally agree. But it’s about eliminating superfluous elements rather than saying it’s a branding issue. I.e. why the hell are they doing comedy shows during Canadian MUSIC Week/Fest, what ever you want to call it?

    #2: No Rules

    Agree, but not sympathetic to the complaint. I actually get kind of peeved at how people go crazy for “it” bands that are playing at CMF or NXNE, because usually, they’re not particularly great or original. Chvrches was a PRIME example. And if the show is somewhere small like Mod Club, what do you expect to happen? Even if the wrist bands were unlimited access everywhere, it’s stupid to line-up really early during a festival because the point is venue hopping, and obviously there will be more wristbands out there than people allowed in any one venue.

    The optimal solution would be to eliminate ticket sales altogether for specific events, but that still wouldn’t solve the problem because Torontonians are so lacking in self-respect that there are enough posers out there who would line up for hours for an “it: show. So most normal human beings with wristbands would still miss the show. Or miss most of that night’s other events to catch the “it” show.

    #3: Big Acts Aren’t Accessible

    Who cares?? Why the hell are you trying to catch Rhianna at CANADIAN Music Fest? Go catch her lame ass at ACC when she plays for the rest of the music plebs. If you want accessible blah music, stay home and listen to Top 40 radio. While I’m sympathetic to the bait-and-switch argument, I would still tell who over wants to go catch a big act at Dundas Square that they are wasting their time. Accessible doesn’t mean that you don’t have to show up MASSIVELY early to make it anywhere near the stage or in the venue. At which point you’ve missed have the night. The whole point of music festivals is to catch lots of bands. If you have your heart set on a big band, buy a ticket to their next show in town and dedicate your night to that. It’s stupid to kill a night on an act who will most definitely come to town again.

    #4: Too Many Mistakes

    Yes, but to a certain degree that’s unavoidable and I’m not sure NXNE does better. When you’re running that many shows at that many venues there are too many human elements to be perfect. And it’s difficult to keep people updated when there are that many shows. Because I followed the updates I found out about show cancellation hours earlier than other people, but that just means I was paying attention.

    I also noticed that some “errors” were really scheduling changes, and that a lot of perceived errors were caused by me misreading the schedule rather than by some scheduling problem.

    #5: Too Few Repeat Performances

    I’d have to agree completely with that one. I missed at least 6 bands because of scheduling conflicts and had to pick one over the other.

    #6: Who is in Charge of Quality Control

    Again, I agree with that one. There were a lot of bands out there when I was sampling on line that weren’t great, or more frequently, were too generic. But, that’s a problem that can be avoided if you take the time to sample. Every single band had something online that allowed you to get a decently accurate sense of their sound.

    Also, I’m not one to be confident enough in my music tastes to be able to hold out myself to be the determinative arbitrer of musical quality across all genres.

    There were plenty on bands that I loved that people just hated. So who knows if the bands I thought sucked didn’t have a niche out there? I’d rather a festival that is too inclusive. But I think some of the bands that appeared to be lacking in quality to most discerning ears should have been replaced by more repeat acts.

    1000 bands is too many to sort out in any event. Even if there was that niche out there that LOVES a type of uncoordinated band that I find atrocious, they wouldn’t be able to find it because there’s just too much stuff out there. I started listening weeks in advance and probably only made it through 75% of bands.

    • http://twitter.com/fyang Frank Yang

      with respect to your “no rules” point – if it was articulated beforehand what the rules were and they were adhered to, then it’s easy enough to plan around. the problem was that the rules WEREN’T clearly presented to anyone, or what was thought to be clear was contradicted or ignored outright by people working the venues. It’s that lack of organization and/or discipline on the part of the festival – and then the arrogance and outright disrespect with which it’s covered up with – that’s at issue here.

      • http://www.facebook.com/andres.hannahsuarez Andres Hannah-Suarez

        And would have to agree. I missed two shows (in one night to make matters worse) because the rules were not clearly set out beforehand.

        • http://ridethetempo.com Tiana Feng

          While I did go to CHVRCHES, I spent the majority of the week seeing 10 bands in a day, discovered some good ones and some not so good. However in terms of your mistakes point, it wasn’t just the headliners that cancelled last minute, but there were smaller bands that simply disappeared off the schedule and nothing was said until I tweeted the band about it. I made my schedule pretty much the day before CMW and double checked the site every morning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BrianAdamBanks Brian Banks

    Bravo. I passed on these same sentiments to CMW, but not via my blog but to their faces. And then later again on the telephone on Monday. This year was worse organized than ever. “Frustrated” was the word.

    Us music bloggers getting given the runaround is one thing, but when the paying fans and the bands are being let down too, then that’s the real disappointment. It’s not acceptable.

    Drastic changes are needed on many fronts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TomiiSonic Tomii Tron

    I agree with everything, except in 4years of show going and carefully researching any band that plays rock, I would have loved to see one single Orgy tribute band, or anything similar, instead of the the droves of Ukulele frumpsters trying to come off as eclectic that pollute the scene here like seagulls someone started feeding in the No Frills parking lot. Seriously know what Orgy sounds like before you lay them across an alter of criticism. Probably no one else in Canada cares, but they are my favorite band, and what sucks as a musician is to be waiting for one peep out of the media regarding your favorite band and after 4 years all you end up with is this article saying that hatsome crappy novice goth bands in bondage gear from Queen street are comparable to great band like Orgy. End rant

    • Winkee

      Whatever, you act like orgy is some prolific acclaimed band, when they are in fact exactly what you hate on minus the words Queen Street. Great band? you have got to be kidding, they are the definition of mediocre new metal and the only reason anyone knows who they are to even reference them is because of a cover.

      • http://www.facebook.com/TomiiSonic Tomii Tron

        Well I can’t account for your crap taste or opinion, but I can tell you that a lot of people might use that view point on Neil Young, there is a depth of personality and originality that is paramount over technical abilities that provide character. Blue Monday, is the worst Orgy song, but the label wanted the promotional short cut. But mostly the fact you started your rebuttal with “whatever” makes me think you are likely a complete moron at life. :)

        • http://www.facebook.com/TomiiSonic Tomii Tron

          PS What type of music do you think is good. One of my many favorite Orgy songs is Eva, Jay wrote that song about his friend Josh’s mother passing away, who was a mother figure to Jay. It’s prolific because those lyrics echo in my head when I think of my grandfather who raised me and died before I could be there to say good bye. One of many meaningful songs, many of which also that got me a devastating 6 year relationship failure. Those lyrics are incredibly powerful and made me feel worth and like someone understood. But yeah they did a Blue Monday cover so they must be a shitty band….

          • Winkee

            Are you comparing Neil Young to orgy? Love him or hate him, he certainly has more than 3 albums and has been a much more important and prolific musician for longer than the members of orgy have even been alive.
            I like all kinds of music from hip hop to rock and even nu metal acts, I even used to listen to orgy. I never said they were shitty I just said they were mediocre and not the greatest as you keep telling me. I appreciate that you like their music and that they do have powerful lyrics that mean things to people, but you have to admit they are an extremely obscure niche band that have constantly been the but of jokes for their goth/industrial style and their one hit wonder reputation (for blue monday which is the only reason many people know who they are). Playing a cover does not make them a shitty band and I never said they were I just find it ridiculous that someone would take such obsession to a joke about a band that hasn’t been relevant in more than a decade. Is this the first time you’ve heard someone joking about orgy, because I find that very hard to believe.

          • http://www.facebook.com/TomiiSonic Tomii Tron

            Not the first time I heard it in passing however it gets old, and instead of letting it slide every time some snarky comment is made about ANY band or artist I respect, I choose to offer resistance. And yeah, I’m comparing Orgy to Neil Young, because I can do that, I don’t care how long he has been around or albums sold, Ringo Stars been around and Brittany Spears has sold millions, I don’t really care about them either. Fact of the matter is I didn’t like the reference to Orgy, because they are better then that and I am friends with four of the guys from Orgy, and I stood up, however insignificant, and you commented further on what a joke they were, and here we are.

          • http://www.facebook.com/TomiiSonic Tomii Tron

            Also to clarify my reference to Queen St. (which I love btw) sounded like I was referencing a band from QS, what meant to reference was a band wearing “bondage gear from QS” . Just that anyone can get it, and it’s not uncommon.

          • http://www.facebook.com/TomiiSonic Tomii Tron

            But I still hate Ukuleles..

  • darryl

    #7: even if there were a better selection of good bands, the media wouldn’t go to there shows or give them any coverage anyway.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      How does that follow? If they’re good, people will go. If they get a second performance (as suggested above), media will follow the buzz.

      • http://twitter.com/fyang Frank Yang

        the multiple-show thing isn’t really a valid complaint – most bands who could draw for multiple shows are on tours and just passing through for the one date. Those who are here for any duration do tend to end up with multiple shows (Iceland’s Soley had three, I think) and when it’s logistically possible, they do the “special guest” thing (A Place To Bury Strangers were done the Coheed & Cambria tour after Thursday and stuck around to play The Garrison on Friday) but CMW isn’t like SXSW or CMJ where the artists are coming to town to hang around Toronto in Winter.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Next time, just use an ordered list.

    And you forgot Reason 0: It’s all about “authentic” rock music in 50 shades of shaggy.

  • Katie Woods

    A lot of these complaints plus the complaints in the comments sections contradict one another. You don’t like how heavy CMW is on Twitter but then you complain about smaller bands having to do their own promo. You complain about how CMW is a circle jerk of promotion… hell yeah they will promote the bands they know and love because those are the bands that are getting people to come out. You complain about how you’re uninformed about smaller names dropping from showcases. But you don’t like how heavy the social media is so where would you like to get this info? Yes, the website is hard to navigate at times, and yes the app was glitchy at times. Some bands did drop out but shouldn’t you be getting mad at the band? Yes, some shows were limited wristbands. I had a delegate pass and media pass and still had to pay for Bronson and wait in line. My life is not over because I waited 5 mins to get into a show I wanted to see.

    I’ll agree the branding could be sorted out better. But I will never complain about getting to see so many incredible bands from big names to up and comers to some guy from Winnipeg I happened across.

    Also, what are your solutions or tools to fix your complaints?

    • http://twitter.com/fyang Frank Yang

      you forgot to include the “I am an intern at Audio Blood” disclaimer.

      • Joeman

        http://ca.linkedin.com/in/hellokatiewoods

        Sad truth is she totally is

        • http://twitter.com/fyang Frank Yang

          yeah it wasn’t a random comment. I knew.

          • Katie Woods

            Why use a disclaimer when you can easily research me on LinkedIn as you have demonstrated? I’m not trying to hide anything nor am I trying to prove anything.

            Simply stating my opinion that many of these complaints contradict one another. I would love to see a proposed solution for these complaints.

          • http://twitter.com/fyang Frank Yang

            if you don’t understand why it would be ethically correct to point out in a thread that you have a direct personal/professional connection to the topic at hand, then I guess you wouldn’t understand why people might be upset that a PR company using an avenue that should be meant to promote and inform a festival seemed to be disporportionately skewed towards promoting said PR company’s other clients. Disclosure, transparency; these are important things.

            and the reason some complaints may contradict each other is because they come from different people with different opinions, experiences, and ideas.

            How would I suggest improving things? How about taking attendees complaints seriously and actually trying to address them instead of being defensive and dismissal? Someone elsewhere in this thread pointed out that these are not new complaints and would probably be ignored the way they are every year because as long as the right people are making money, they see no need to change how they do things. Sadly, this is probably true.

            But if I could ask for one specific, concrete change, it’d be to stop listing bands and venues with “The” in their name under “T”. Cause that’s just stupid and lazy data management.

          • Allan Puna

            “But if I could ask for one specific, concrete change, it’d be to stop
            listing bands and venues with “The” in their name under “T”. Cause
            that’s just stupid and lazy data management.”

            I could not agree more. I was gobsmacked when I picked up the gig guide and saw it was organized like that. Trying to find venue info within the app was a pain in the ass as well.

          • Katie Woods

            It wasn’t my intention to defend on behalf of CMW or where I intern. I was speaking as a fan. My apologies if it came across another way, or as sketchy PR.

            There are many fine lines, and everyone has a different perspective and bias. You were correct, I did become defensive. CMW has been a part of my life for the past 5 years and has provided me with some incredible memories and experiences. I’m sorry that something like a wait in line or confusion at a venue has clouded these experiences for others.

            It seems we all have some pretty strong feelings about CMW. Though this thread isn’t a proper outlet to get these feelings addressed. I highly recommend emailing CMW if you’ve had issues with a venue, or have constructive criticism. The website has a contact page with emails for everyone involved so you’ll be able to properly direct your concern.

            FY thanks for calling me out, and for some solid debating points. This doesn’t happen enough. And I will 100% agree with you on The being listed under T, its a pet peeve for sure.

      • Allan Puna

        Oh man, well spotted FY. +100 points.

  • Bystander

    Regarding #6 – I know for a fact only a few months before the festival they were short some 3-400 bands. They declined a lot of bands right away whereas they should have made their selection, then started denying. As a result we’re left with seat-filling acts hurried into the lineup at the last minute.

    The booklet was also missing tons of information, even missing venues and venue locations and even most of the bands (which is kind of essential). I was told it was printed really, really early.

    And #7 that the commenters added is absolutely a huge issue. There is a HUGE amount of Audioblood tags and tags to bands that AB is working. Where is the professional detachment? How can this actually be allowed? This company is granted free promotion for themselves and their acts, just because they were (questionably) awarded the social media contract? The promotion of the AB party using the CMW twitter was appalling and unprofessional.

    I wouldn’t call it a “social circle-jerk” so much as a “private masturbation session with the door closed”.

  • SayitaintSo

    I totally agree with everything in this article..
    One of my favourite bands from the states who haven’t played Canada since I was in high school, happened to go on tour during CMW.
    Guess what happened? CMW “booked” them as an artist playing the festival and the band found out that ‘wristbands’ and media people could get in (with limited tickets) and the band cancelled the show.

    If I was an artist coming into town on tour and found out that the festival was putting me on their lineup without permission and making money off it without letting half of the people in, I too would be pissed.

    Theres a lot about the festival that needs some fine-tuning.
    I won’t even begin to discuss the social media, website, app, or other details..
    I’ll get too angry..

    Besides, NXNE is during the summer, and outside.
    So, I’m in.

  • Guest

    A lot of these issues happen at any festival with 1000 bands and 40+ venues. Which include, SXSW, NXNE, CMJ, AMA (Nashville)

    • http://twitter.com/fyang Frank Yang

      these are problems inherent with any large-scale, club-level festival, yes, but they can be managed and mitigated. I’ve gone to SXSW and NXNE as long as CMW, and they’re far better organized and continue to improve each year – unless you consider getting bigger and more commercialized not an improvement – whereas CMW has the same problems every year and they arguably get worse. And many of the very basic complaints are easily addressed – being clear about what the wristband gets you, about how admission to clubs will be handled, what the policies for media are, having a properly organized and navigable website and app.

  • hamclubsandwich

    An easy-to-fix problem: bands or venues that start with “The” should not be filed under the letter “T” in the printed schedule, online schedule or app. Please.

  • hamclubsandwich

    The only thing – and I stress the ONLY thing – that CMW/CMF has over NXNE is a decent jazz program, but that’s largely thanks to JAZZ.FM 91 (http://www.jazz.fm/). Wondering why Audioblood never tweeted/promoted that series. ;-)