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Winnipeg-based ‘Home Routes/Chemin Chez Nous’ house concert network announces plans to expand to Atlantic Canada in 2018, seeking to create a community of house concert presenters and artists in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Home Routes has been pairing artists with rural presenters throughout Western Canada over the past decade, presenting more than 7000 performances at nearly 1500 locations in front of 207,000 fans to date, generating more than four million dollars in artist revenue and royalties since its beginnings in 2007. This year, Home Routes is looking to extend their success to Atlantic Canada.
Nova Scotia Music Week got the team at Home Routes thinking about the Atlantic Canada region. Leonard Podolak, Executive Producer of Home Routes, attended Nova Scotia Music Week this past November, and immediately recognized the deep bench of talent and supporters in the region. “Nova Scotia Music week was an eye opening experience. and an ear opening one as well,” says Podolak, “not only was I blown away by the variety of talent -- not to mention the level -- but also to witness the experience of young bands playing all kinds of music from Hip-Hop and Rap, to Rock’n’Roll and Pop singer songwriter, as well as artists in the Folk tradition.... we love all great music, so along with the traditional Home Routes Tours featuring acoustic folk music, our overall goal is to expand our network into more music genres, making it truly representative of the diverse Canadian music scene,” says Podolak, “to that end, we are seeking hosts in the region who are interested in presenting a season series of artists representing the many facets of Folk Music as well as a variety of other genres”
Expanding the environment for private concerts: Historically, Home Routes sought out presenters in smaller communities, who simply loved music and could host 25 people or more in their home (or other non-traditional space). Today, the series has grown to include presenters from private homeowners to larger venue owners. For the live music fan, attending a house concert offers a more intimate experience than a commercial venue as attendees get a chance to meet and talk one-on-one with the performers, and to meet other people who share their interest in music. Home Routes accomplishes this while creating new opportunities both for the musicians and for audiences by increasing access and quantity of professional performances available in often underserved areas.
Josie McKay, a presenter from Valleyview AB says of the experience, “Home Routes has been amazing. We’ve met so many fantastic, interesting and talented people. And we've been able to bring a musical experience that shouldn't even be possible for a town of 1800 people. I can't thank you enough for this opportunity… We are looking forward to another wonderful year.”
Artists, especially emerging performers, appreciate the opportunities developed by Home Routes as well, as it gives them a chance to hone their stagecraft and banter -- and you never know who you will catch before their career takes off. William Prince, winner of the 2017 JUNO for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, has this to say about the Home Routes advantages for artists:
“Home Routes was my introduction to touring. The first times packing my car and venturing out to places where me and my music were unknown, I was always somewhat wary because so many of my friends came back from the road with stories of rough bars and not the best living conditions - sometimes no living conditions at all! The beauty of Home Routes is the audience is so appreciative and supportive. Playing two full sets for a house of people is incredible. You can feel the response without amplification and you’re not fighting anyone in the room for your place. The hospitality is the real treat. Time spent with music lovers who cook real meals and open their homes as a haven of rest. It’s a beautiful journey. Home Routes is a treasure and tremendous support in keeping live music thriving and artists driving!”
Fellow Home Routes PEI alumna Meaghan Blanchard adds: “I cannot say enough about the amazing Home Routes experiences that I have been so lucky to have over the years. The Home Routes team out of Winnipeg works so hard to put the artists and the music first, and that is such an incredible thing. Artists feel this love, and so do the audiences. These tours allow artists like myself to cultivate new fans and friends across the country during the typical ‘off season’, while visiting towns and areas we might not get to on a typical theatre tour. I have loved meeting the host families, and have kept in touch with a number of them over the years! It’s a beautiful way to experience music.”
House concerts have a triple function. They support artists’ ability to make a living, they make music accessible on a grassroots level to all corners of Canada, and they connect people -- a social engine that builds community. If you are a music fan who wants to learn more about becoming part of the series or if you are an artist interested in performing during the 2018 season, go here to learn more.
Home Routes’ programming emphasizes artistic excellence, diverse and entertaining performances that leave audiences breathless and wanting more. “As an organization we are born from Folk Music, and we are very excited to expand our tours of acoustic music to the East Coast,” Says Podolak, “in the hopes of adding our unique house concerts to the perennial mosaic of culture which flourishes in Eastern Canada.”
ABOUT HOME ROUTES/CHEMIN CHEZ NOUS:
Home Routes/Chemin Chez Nous was incorporated as a not-for-profit arts organization in February of 2007 to create new performance opportunities for French and English speaking musicians and audiences in rural, remote and urban, communities across Canada, hosted by volunteers in their homes and other community venues. Follow Home Routes on twitter @homeroutes or “like” on facebook.