THE ECMA'S STORY... 33 YEARS IN THE MAKING
From humble beginnings many years ago in a Halifax bar, the East Coast Music Awards: Festival and Conference has grown from a one-day $1,000 event to a five-day international gathering, with a budget exceeding $1.6 million. At the same time, it has become the premier event of its kind in Atlantic Canada, attracting millions of dollars in economic spin offs. It has become one of the top music industry events in Canada, on par with the JUNOS and the Canadian Country Music Awards.
By inviting members of the international music industry to attend the ECMAs, the East Coast Music Association (ECMA) has marketed Atlantic Canadian music to the world. Artists like the Irish Descendants, the Fables, Natalie McMaster, Sloan, the Rankins, Great Big Sea, Ennis Sisters, Bruce Guthro, Vishten, Ashley MacIsaac, the Barra MacNeils, Gordie Sampson, Madison Violet, Bette & Wallet, Mark Bragg, Joel Plaskett, Matt Mays, the Trews, Jill Barber, Nathan Wiley, the Chucky Danger Band (now Paper Lions), and Sarah McLachlan have launched thriving careers that were given a significant boost by the ECMA.
With the growth of its annual event, the association faces the challenge of meeting music industry expectations, while still honouring the vision of the host communities. The focus of the ECMA – to promote and foster the careers of East Coast artists – remains constant against a backdrop of rapid change within the international music marketplace.