Ask any Alberta-based promoter of roots, jazz, or world music about the important role CKUA plays in the equation of presenting a show or a festival and the answers are consistently similar.
Those comments can basically be distilled down to the fact that this Radio Network “is a vital link in that chain between the artist and promoter.”
CKUA continues to play a key role in enlightening us. Producers and announcers stir the daily musical brew with new sounds, and many listeners also make us aware of new artists and releases that are worth investigating. This interaction and equation coincides with
programmers continuing to champion artists who have been mainstays on the network playlists for years if not decades.
It doesn’t matter whether the promoter is a non-profit organization in the Peace Country, or in Athabasca, which is the home of the Heartwood Folk Club, or in Turner Valley where Beneath The Arch annually produces a strong concert season.
The promoters could be the proprietors of free-standing venues in Calgary, like the Beat Niq jazz club or the Ironwood Stage and Grill, The Matchbox Theatre in Red Deer, or the Commercial Hotel Tavern, aka Blues On Whyte, in Edmonton.
Not only are announcers of both eclectic and genre specific shows rattling off strings of dates every shift, the CKUA website boasts an incredibly comprehensive Alberta Arts and Culture Events Listing guide that is updated on a daily basis.
One individual who understands the benefits of CKUA “spreading the word” in one fashion or another is promoter Maurice Ginzer who is one of the producers of the Calgary Midwinter Bluefest, which runs from February 21-26. Long before Maurice got into the festival business he was responsible for keeping the doors of Kaos Café open on 17th avenue and the venue was one of the destination points for quality music for a number of years.
It was during his run at Kaos that Ginzer started producing a small yet inviting event that he felt could “help patrons get through the last stretch of winter blahs.”
At Kaos he produced a few thematic events over the course of a late winter week. It would build towards a grand finale that presented a trio of heavyweight guitarists who were capable of laying down memorable solo sets before banding together for a full-out assault of blues and blues-based rock and roll.
These days Ginzer’s vision is understandably broader than the one he put forth at Kaos, as he has a number of venues to operate from. That he’s had the experience of producing a summer sister event for a number of years has only given him more experience to draw on. Not surprisingly he and festival co-producer Cindy McLeod are currently in overdrive as they put in last minute preparations for the slate of events they have programmed for this edition of Midwinter Bluesfest.
“We’re pretty happy with the way the 'Singing The Blues Vocal Camp and Competition' has come along. This year the participants, and we max out at ten, will work with Donald Ray Johnson at the Cantos Foundation in a workshop setting on the Monday night. These young singers couldn’t ask for a better mentor than Donald Ray, and then on the following night which is Tuesday February 22 they all gather at the Red Fox Tavern in the Ramada Downtown Hotel and perform in front of a panel of industry professionals who will offer them all additional advice. That’s a free event and it’s great to see these new talents emerge,” says Ginzer.