CityFolk Wrap!

So since April I’ve been working closely with CityFolk (formerly Ottawa Folk Festival) on their free programming side of the festival called Marvest. As of Sunday night, it’s over and was a HUGE success. Hundreds of people went from venue to venue along Bank Street discovering new music (despite the frigid winds on Saturday night). I myself tried to catch as many shows as possible from the 60+ bands, stopping in by bike over a 2 km radius (I’m convinced I must have walked/biked 20 km on Saturday). Somehow I wound up MC’ing a corn on the cob eating contest in addition to being interviewed on CTV, CBC Ottawa TV, CBC Ottawa Morning, CFRA, 1310 News, Couch Assassin, CKCU, CHUO… I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Just know that Marvest was in all media related to local music and culture in Ottawa.  There was an amazing team at CityFolk helping make everything happen and they were a pleasure to work with. So too was connecting with all the venue owners, band members and general public while chatting about this amazing, SXSW-inspired festival experience never before seen in the capital.



I took a few days off but of course as soon as I arrived home, I rolled into Polaris Prize to watch the incredible Buffy Ste Marie take home the top honour. It was a blast and Fred Penner did a wonderfully charming job covering all the past Polaris winners acoustic with exception to calling Fucked Up, Fuddle-uddled-up and not even trying to cover Tanya Tagac. The afterparty was a big dance party too that led perfectly into a week of resting and catching up on sleep after quite possibly the longest work weeks I can ever recall in the industry with the biggest smile on my face.

Speaking of smiles. Here are some photos.

zoo instagram image of aberdeen etc sam on tv


and just in case you wanted to see that corn eating contest…

What’s the best summer gig??

Working at festivals!  Last weekend was the first non-festival weekend since May. We’ve done CMW, NXNE, Field Trip, Bestival, and Pride. This week marks the beginning of RBC Bluesfest in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, a summer time tradition!

I’ll be repping CityFolk at the Folk Wagon wrapped with all the band names for the duration of the festival with a great team of volunteers so please come say hi!

Also you can follow my festival antics @urockred on Instagram.


Raid my record collection, no, really: Rdio

If you’re considering working with someone in the music industry, don’t you want to know what they are listening to?  If you look at my past listening history you’ll see that I go on pop music kicks, 70s rock followed by some hardcore punk. You won’t see any new country or even much EDM on there. I don’t mind people checking it out and love seeing other industry folks posting the #nowplaying hashtag or #vinylig. We’re all here because we love music at the end of the day. I’ve made my Rdio public so that when people visit the YouRockRed site they can see what I’m listening to and see if we’re the right fit to work together.

I’ve been a big fan of Rdio since first being introduced 3 years ago. I tried to convert to Spotify but couldn’t do it because all of my past listen history on Rdio.  As a music journalist, Rdio was an invaluable tool for me to research new music; I wouldn’t have to wait for codes from the record company, albums to arrive in the mail or worse yet, buying an album I wasn’t interested in on Itunes and racking up random credit card charges.

Having a wide interest and unlimited exposure to all genres of music is so important to artist development (industry as well). I used to be a snob and not listen to Top 40 radio (30 now) but I think it’s crucial to know what music is popular for how to apply it to your career. Even if you’re into doom metal, singing along to a Katy Perry song doesn’t make you any less metal. If anything, I want to see a cover from your metal band of a Katy Perry song. BOOM. That translates into 30,000 Youtube likes and a festival intro. What I’m saying is that you should open your music tastes up to others as people’s influences may surprise you…. and that we should be friends on Rdio.

BSOMA Presents Music Publishing Seminar feat. Jeremy Fisher

Thrilled to announce the second info session I’m organizing with Bluesfest School of Music and Art. Music publishing is confusing. I’ve got books o the music industry that go on for a full chapter only to say, check with your lawyer or just go buy all of these other books.  Instead I’ve assembled a crack team. I love these sessions because I get to learn too! The journalist in me is fascinated by being able to provoke the most interested and helpful answers.  Plus, a lot of research goes into panels that I’m not as familiar with as say, grant-writing which was the first topic BSOMA presented and I’ve spoken about at other festivals.

Who Owns It - poster


The first one in late November sold out in less than a week, so if you’re interested in hearing this expert panel, be sure to buy your tickets in advance.

This is part of the first Megaphono Music Festival happening February 3-5 (reserved wristband holders also have access to the event). I’m going to be hitting up a bunch of the panels on Wednesday and Thursday in advance of the session.

Ticket URL

Facebook event.

BSOMA Thanks! Ottawa Musicians PACK first info session

Thank you so much to the 70 people who packed Bluesfest School of Music and Art’s new venue in Westboro last Thursday night for the first ever BSOMA presents. It was a fully-sold out house and it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing organizing support and creative team from Bluesfest. It was a total pleasure being able to collaborate and make this whole thing happen and a little birdie has now said that the next one will be February 2015!

bsoma me talking

From l-r: Chris Wilson and Dan Hay from Amos the Transparent, Caroline Matt of City of Ottawa, Megan Jones of Factor and me!

Big thank you to Megan Jones from Factor for making the trip from Toronto to talk to the audience.  By the way, what a diverse audience- wow! All ages, ethnicities, and GENRES.  Metalheads to folk rockers to pop singers. I feel absolutely honoured that people held on to the panelists’ words like they did.

Seriously, it’s almost a week from the fact and I’m still gushing.  It was amazing to talk to all the artists afterwards eager to set up their special BSOMA-sponsored appointments with me as YouRockRed.  People had such positive comments including “That was the best $10 I’ve ever spent,” to just telling me how inspired they feel and how they can’t wait to meet with their band that week to talk about how to get THEIR group to the next level with all this new information.  This was a first of sorts for Ottawa.  The reason I pitched the info session series concept was because I go to sessions like these all the time at music conferences like NXNE and CMW and wanted people NOT in the music industry or music-specific training programs to be able to take advantage of education/networking opportunities.  I think the mission was accomplished.

bsoma mark

Mark Monahan thanking everyone for coming out and telling the audience how these sorts of sessions are exactly what BSOMA intended to do when founded. (I’m trying to hide how much I’m smiling at those kind words but the smirk is breaking through!)

Again, big thank you to Mark Monahan, Caroline Matt of City of Ottawa and my pals in Amos the Transparent.  Beaus- your beer was much appreciated by everyone afterwards in the swanky BSOMA lounge.

I’m meeting with BSOMA this week and can’t wait to read all of your feedback.  There’s a lot of subjects that can be future conferences- I’ve got about 25 already brainstormed with min. 3 people for each.  Stay tuned here and thank you again!

All these photos are from Ming Wu and Jackpine.  Thanks for the great shots!


Look at that crowd!

Look at that crowd!

Rock interview Books

As a music journalist I love reading old interviews and this book is fantastic. The 14 page Bill Murray interview alone is worth the $8 I paid for it at Black Squirrel. I’m a big fan of Greil Marcus and Neil Strauss’s rock writing as well.

rolingstone book

TIFF 2014 Reviews: Midnight Madness, James Franco and… a Walrus?

This was my second time attending TIFF but this time actually hit the red carpet for the world premier of Tusk (the new Kevin Smith movie and a personal inspiration for his “why-not” attitude), the new Kristen Wiig Welcome to Me (expect award noms for her), Eden (French 90s DJ movie), The Sound and Fury (new James Franco) and Tokyo Tribe.

Short and Sweet Tweeted Reviews by YouRockRed 

  1. Tusk = If Kevin Smith can turn Justin Long into a walrus, you can make your own movie too.
  2. The Sound and the Fury = James Franco shouldn’t be allowed to tackle any more classic American novels.
  3. Welcome to Me = 86 Million dollars of dark comedic fun, Oprah ain’t go nothing on this Borderline personality TV host.
  4. Eden = Music scene public-masturbation up on the big screen from famous French DJs you’ve never heard of.
  5. Tokyo Tribe = World’s first rap-battle musical.

Had a great time at TIFF 2014.

Partied at the Drake thanks to Planzio at THIS party with 20 friends. If you’ve not gotten the app yet, get it FREE here!


James Franco speaking to the audience

James Franco speaking to the audience


Every audience member was given a walrus mask so that they TOO could become the walrus.

Canon shot from our spot in the balcony of midnight premier.

Canon shot from our spot in the balcony of midnight premier.  Bonus: Kevin Smith talked for about an hour afterwards and inspired EVERYONE.

And surprisingly THIS was the catchiest song heard:

Also I spotted THIS man.

Will Ferrell


13 Songs about Going Back To School

White Stripes- I can tell that we are going to be friends

Ramones- Rock and Roll High School

The Donna’s – I don’t wanna go to school

Joan Jett- Bad Reputation

School Days- Chuck Berry

Blink 182- Stay Together for the Kids

The Replacements- Fuck School

High School Confidential- Rough Trade-

The Runaways- School Daze-

Dead Kennedy’s – Straight A’s -

James Brown- Don’t be a Drop out-

Red Hot Chili Peppers- Catholic School Girls Rule-

Beach Boys- Be True to Your School-

It’s our birthday!

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the launch of YouRockRed!

Highlights include:

  • over $200,000 in Canadian grants awarded to our musician clients
  • Polaris Award nomination for first client Kalle Mattson
  • Over 50 consultations with artists
  • Working with over 100 artists in various capacities
  • stage managing Mod Club during NXNE (Danny Brown, Alvvays)
  • providing social media support at Canadian Music Week
  • exclusive Google Play Plus party with Stars, A Tribe Called Red, Kevin Drew
  • Management client The Strain opening for Lorde
  • Providing marketing and management support for the Ottawa International Film Festival

But honestly, seeing and hearing what our clients are capable of bringing to life is what inspires us daily.

To another year of rock and roll madness!

We’re choosing to say that Gaslight Anthems’ new album, Get Hurt, being released on our birthday is NO coincidence…

A Spoonful of Summer- Summertime Playlist

Because when it gets hot, you gotta take a cue from all the festivals and dose of Canadiana.  These are the albums in heavy rotation in the last 2 weeks.  Check out more by creeping my Rdio.

  1. Spoon- They Want My Soul
  2. Phantogram – Voices
  3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Live from KCRW
  4. Alvvays- Alvvays
  5. Arkells- High Noon
  6. Joel Plaskett- Scrappy Happiness
  7. Kaiser Chiefs- Education, Education, Education
  8. Broken Social Scene- You Forgot It in People
  9. Action Bronson- Easy Rider
  10. Kevin Drew- Darlings

Sorry for the short post, things be crazy in YouRockRed headquarters lately (crazy-good busy, that is).