You know it’s going to be a good night when you leave home just to get into bed at a luxury hotel. When that bed comes decked out with champagne, yummy snacks and party favors, so much the better. And when your entertainment just happens to be the biggest annual celebration of Canadian music, then you’ve achieved party perfection.
This perfect party formula was concocted by Casper, The Thompson Hotel and The Juno Awards this Sunday.
While my friends and colleagues in the music industry jetted off to our nation’s capital forJuno related festivities, I stayed home, letting new Addicted contributor Els Durnford flit about Ottawa, camera in hand, capturing all the excitement. I was perfectly content to stay behind, watching the excitement through the social media lens and catching the broadcast from the comfort of my bed on Sunday night. So when I was invited to literally do just that, but at the Thompson instead of home, the opportunity was just too good to pass up.
This year Casper joined forces with the Junos. The revolutionary mattress makers are clearly onto something. Firm, comfortable, and created with technology to control temperature, airflow and rebound, these mattresses are top of the line. It may seem odd to be seated for 2 hours, fully clothed, on a mattress to watch a show. But these mattresses were so fantastic, and the accompanying pillows so firm and supportive, I was comfortable and cozy the whole time.
*photos by Hector Vasquez
So we know that Casper makes great mattresses, and Canada makes great music, and together they made a great party. But what this Casper + Junos event really rocked was the swag factor. We had super comfy slippers, hilarious photo props and helpful clappers for those applause worthy moments. No awards show is comeplete without some bubbly, and what’s better than bubbly in bed? Nothing, as Casper and wine sponsor Jackson Triggs showed with a perfectly chilled bottle present. Complete with some great snacks and trivia games, all the swag for a great soiree was present.
*photos by Nadia Elkharadyl and Hector Vasquez
The Juno Awards broadcast itself was in itself, conflicted. While I had an incredible front bed seat and was physically the most comfortable I could possibly be, there were many cringeworthy moments. Most of these moments were courtesy of comedian and co-host Russell Peters. He was clearly apathetic to the task he was asked to perform. His banter was peppered with a plethora of offensive comments, he put his cohost Bryan Adams, as well as the live audience members in many an uncomfortable situation, and overall was torture to watch. I won’t delve into the horror here, but check out these pieces for an important read about Peter’s blatant misogyny and racism, and shake your head along with me.
Despite Peters’ petty attempt at ruining the party for everyone, the Juno broadcast itself was incredibly well done. The opening collaboration between Tanya Tagaq, Buffy St Marie and A Tribe Called Red was a raw and powerful tribute to Canada’s First Nations community and the amazing music it creates. It showcased the positive intentions of the Juno’s overall, and was clear in its attempt to set the tone for the rest of the night.
It was incredible for me, who’s been following so many of the artists and bands present, to see them achieve what is essentially a gold standard in Canadian music. Bands like The Strumbellas and July Talk, who were still playing tiny venues just a few years ago, took to the massive stadium stage with grace and confidence. My obsession with Alessia Cara reached its pinnacle. I’ve been listening to her album Know-it-all on repeat for years now, so watching her belt out not one but two songs, a mash up of her single with Zedd’s Dead “Stay” and her own anthem “Scars to your beautiful”, all I could feel was pride and happiness for her well earned success.
The Canadian music industry lost an icon this past year in Leonard Cohen. The Junos recognized him with a beautiful tribute by Feist that left the Thompson Ballroom hushed, all of us awestruck by the poignant power of the performance. Sarah McLachlan was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and considering her amazing accomplishments in advancing women in music and music education, it was about damn time.
Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip were recognized separately and together with the Songwriter of the Year and Group of the Year awards. Downie gracefully accepted with an impassioned speech about the debt our country still owes to its First Nations People. The Hips’ Paul Langlois fell victim to some non Russell Peters related awkwardness, with Juno producers attempting to play him offstage as he took a moment to pass some advice to younger musicians.
Overall it was a great Juno Year, and I couldn’t have picked a better way to enjoy the broadcast. I think I’ll watch every major event from a Casper bed from now on.
*photos by Els Durnford