CMW from a Student Perspective

Posted on March 28th, 2012 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

Victoria Elysse

Victoria Elysse

Canadian Music Week ( celebrated its 30th year last week with a variety of conferences, award shows, exhibitions, films, comedy and, of course, five nights of Canadian Music Fest showcasing 800-plus bands at 60 live venues across the city.

This was a phenomenal (albeit tiring) opportunity to participate in the industry and mingle with the best in the business. As an audio student, the conferences, panels and workshops had a great deal to offer in the way of alternative sources of education. I myself volunteered my time to the CMW staff and worked on the Signage team on the conference side of things, which took place at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Other volunteer positions included reception, registration, award show volunteer, festival volunteer and more. (Side note, our team totally rocked it this year and our wonderful volunteer co-ordinator thanked us for making his 10th year with the festival the best one yet!)

I must admit, my very first impressions of my position were maybe not the best. Starting on the second morning of the week, my first time volunteering with the CMW, I felt disadvantaged and a little lost. However, I took it upon myself to learn the ins and outs of the job; including all of its perks! By my second shift, I was taking initiative while building relationships and attending any sessions I could. By the end of the week, I emptied a stack of business cards and CDs on to my living room table and sifted through new Twitter followers and Facebook friends.

I had been privileged enough to witness people like Alan Frew ( perform songs I have been listening to my entire life. The enriching conversations, the contacts and networking not to mention the shows and mounds of swag were well worth the decline in my nutritional and somnolent practices – in layman’s terms, I traded my diet and any sleep at all for a conversation with Ralph Murphy (, a chance to see Dan Mangan ( at the Horseshoe and a handful of guitar picks. For the record, it was worth every sleepless moment.

I highly recommend volunteering to any newbie interested in making meaningful connections and taking full advantage of what CMW has to offer. I doubt if I would have had such a successful week without the infrastructure in place that put me in the right spot on so many occasions. There is always a compromise, but even as an attendee events that pique interest are bound to overlap. You can’t win ’em all… but you can sure get far if you don’t sleep and you work your feet off.

To read more about my experiences, you can check out my tweets from the week by following me @_VictoriaElysse.

by Victoria Elysse

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