Collingwood’s Live & Original (L&O) music series moves into 2018 with a new direction and a new name. The music initiative launched in April with MusicLab, on Mondays, as an open-house/stage, complete with host, to allow music originators to “work the magic of making music”.

The monthly drop-in event will continue until September when the second and third components of the new initiative take place. The Live & Original Forum is a weekend-long event, Sept. 21-23, that includes social networking, workshop, and performance opportunities in the L&O MusicCrawl for 30 registered music creators. Irish/Canadian contemporary folk artist Irish Mythen will be joining other mentors and discussion leaders to provide advice and encouragement.

The L&O MusicCrawl will also run in conjunction with Collingwood’s annual ArtCrawl.

“We’re essentially re-launching the concept in a brand new direction,” said Dean Collver, Collingwood, parks, recreation and culture director. “The new direction picks up on all of the best parts of the previous three years and nails down how we can help music creators develop and hopefully flourish.”

When L&O began in 2015, it was a competition and workshop series. Last year, it moved to a new venue, a theatre created inside the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena, especially for the Saturday night semi-finals and Sunday finals. The music series also encompassed the first-ever alumni tour of venues on Friday night and two workshops were added to help prepare artists for the recording studio – the second focused on songwriting.

The highlight of the event was the singer-songwriter competition. It drew close to 100 submissions, reflecting a variety of genres, from musicians across Ontario. The top 10 performed live and The Rip Nancies, a four-piece all-female, mid-30s, indie rock band from Barrie won. It was the first competition for the band in its six-year history. The Rip Nancies applied the $3,000 prize toward recording costs to finish their debut album.

“We took stock,” said Collver. “(Even though the) competition part was successful we realized it wasn’t providing the development for music creators we’d hoped for – most of it happened in the networking, relationships formed after the event was over. We (decided) to go with development opportunities instead – networking, collaboration and development opportunities throughout the year, culminating in an L&O Forum in September.”

The name was changed to the Live & Original Music Initiative to reflect the change in direction.

MusicLab Mondays started in April and continues once each month to Sept.17. The open house format will allow music makers to share ideas with each other, collaborate, test out new sounds in the 100-seat Simcoe Street Theatre.

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Photo: Barrie band, The Rip Nancies, won the singer/songwriter competition at last year’s Collingwood Live & Original Music Series. Dave West photo

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