Juno Awards 2023
This year I had the opportunity to volunteer at the 2023 Juno Awards in Edmonton! For those who don’t know, the Juno Awards are basically the "Canadian Grammys". Last year I was able to volunteer in my home-ish town of Toronto and I had a great time. This year the show was in Edmonton and next year they will be taking on Halifax.
Toronto vs Edmonton
I think the biggest difference between hosting the Juno awards in Toronto vs in Edmonton, is that in Edmonton people actually cared. In my experience last year in Toronto, people generally didn’t know it was happening, and if they did they didn’t really care. In Edmonton, it took over the entire city. Every day I was there, people were talking about it. It was constantly promoted on the radio and tv, and there were signs everywhere throughout the city. Honestly, it made it more enjoyable and made you feel like you were a part of something bigger.
In Toronto, I was a part of the Juno Fanfare Survey team at Eaton Centre and I definitely felt very separated from the actual awards show. Whereas in Edmonton, I got to participate in the full dress rehearsal and sit at the table next to the show's producers. So easy to say I was a lot closer to the actual main event.
The volunteer experience was definitely one of the best experiences I have ever had as a volunteer! They were a bit disorganized and mixed communication was often, but overall the events that I was a part of ran smoothly. This year my roles were Juno Awards Rehearsal Assistant and Juno Fanfare Ambassador. If you have the opportunity to volunteer at the Juno Awards in the future I highly recomend it, especially if you want to work in events and entertainment.
Junos Fanfare Event
This event took place on the Sunday before the awards show at West Edmonton Mall and was essentially a meet and greet/photography session. They had two sessions, each with three artists - session 1: Tyler Shaw, Tenille Townes, and Devon Cole, and session 2: Banx & Ranx, Reve, and Preston Pablo.
I was the photographer for the meet and greet with Tenille Townes for the first session and Banx & Ranx for the second session. I also got to meet Tyler Shaw after the meet and greet and took a picture with him. Everyone was so so lovely, I can not get over how sweet they all were with their fans. Banx & Ranx was so much fun to work with and they kept peeking their heads into Preston Pablo’s meet and greet pics, which was really funny. I had honestly never heard of Tenille Townes before but she is very sweet and she went out of her way to do autographs with fans (even though they technically weren’t supposed to but she did anyway, which from a fan perspective I really appreciated). The first session had a lot more people so it was very rushed, whereas the second hour was much more relaxed and managed better so people had more time with the artists. Overall, it was a lot of fun and I got to meet some really cool people.
I really didn’t know what to expect going into the dress rehearsal shift other than the little blurb on the volunteer portal but wow. My task: stand in as ¼ of Nickelback, sit at their table (basically the best seat in the house), go on stage to accept the Hall of Fame Award on their behalf...and watch the FULL dress rehearsal of the Juno Awards.
It was a little intimidating, a lot of miscommunication about what to expect, and they treated us like we should just already know what to do when we really didn’t. But all that aside, it was an insane experience and I am glad I did it.
I also got to be in the same room as Simu Liu for three hours (someone carries his bubble tea around… kind of funny… I want their job). I got to see Tate Mcrae, Tenille Townes, Preston Pablo, AP Dhillon, Banx & Ranx, Reve, etc perform live.
On top of that, my Baba (gramma) who was volunteering with me was a stand-in for Connor McDavid… which was very funny for the audience. So, I was presented a Juno Award on stage as Nickelback from my gramma aka Connor McDavid. A sentence I never thought I would write.
My aunt was also volunteering with me and she accepted the best rap album of the year, and she jokingly dropped Martha and Snoop Dogs' names in her thank-you speech…so obviously hilarity ensues. This was easily the best thank-you speech of the night - including the actual awards show. So as you can see my family was the source of joke for the volunteers at the dress rehearsal.
I ended up not buying a ticket to the show since we already saw the whole show from the floor. It didn’t make sense to spend $85 to watch it again from the upper deck. So we went home to my gramma’s to watch it on TV. Honestly, the CBC broadcast was really messy in Edmonton (from what I have heard it wasn’t just us) so it kept cutting in and out. I think Simu Liu is a great host and I am glad he came back. I thought the intro to the show with Nickelback was actually really funny and the performances were all really good this year.
Now for the Avril Lavigne situation… that was definitely not in the dress rehearsal. I love her and the way she handled it. I definitely think this was not the right way to go about protesting the development on the green belt and it really stepped on AP Dhillon’s moment. Where was security? I don’t know but it definitely took them a little too long to get the protestor off stage.
Who is watching the Junos on a random Monday on the same weekend as the Oscars? Apparently nobody. I don’t know anyone who watched it outside of my family, and those who did only watched the clips to see the protestor on stage and a couple performances. I also didn’t like that the majority of the awards were presented on Saturday. I think they only presented 3-5 awards during the actual AWARDS show. It makes it hard to take the Juno Awards seriously. Canadians should care about the Juno Awards, they should be watching… and they need to do better to get people to watch it.