Manito Ahbee Festival Hosting Free Indigenous Music Conference For Native

Courtesy / Industry professionals will sit down with Native American and First Nations musicians at the Manito Ahbee Music Conference May 17 and 18 at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel in Canada.

Vincent Schilling

Manito Ahbee Festival Music Conference May 17th and 18th at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel in Canada.

Industry professionals will sit down with Native American and First Nations musicians.

The Manito Ahbee Festival, which celebrates Indigenous arts, culture, and music in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, will be hosting the Indigenous-based Manito Ahbee Festival Music Conference as part of its offerings this May 17 and 18 at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel.

At the free conference, industry professionals will sit down with Native American and First Nations musicians and music industry professionals for round-table discussions and one-on-one meetings. Topics will include management, publicity, marketing, festivals, radio and more.

The Manito Ahbee Festival’s Indigenous Music Conference gives Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and industry members a free opportunity to learn about how they can take their careers to the next level.

According to Kerry Clarke, the Artistic Director of the Calgary Folk Music Festival a music industry veteran who entered the independent music world through community radio 30+ years ago told Indian Country Today, “I think this is a really exciting time for indigenous music and culture. I find the music with strong cultural roots and references – often done in a fresh, modern way, stands out and is getting the most attention. I’m looking forward to discovering more interesting and diverse indigenous Canadian artists to include at our festival and other events.”

Though the Indigenous Music Conference event is free, Advance registration is required, and space is limited.

Registration opens April 19

More info about the conference here:

The list of industry professionals released by festival coordinators includes the following:

Bill Leblanc

Artist, New Leaf Entertainment

Sharing the stage with contemporaries like Run DMC, The Game and childhood heroes Buffy Sainte-Marie and The Guess Who, Rellik’s musical journey has been a dream come true for someone who has overcome adversity and truly flourished.

Billy Simard


Billy Simard won the Manitoba Association of Country Music songwriter of the year award in 1991. In 1999 he also took home the award for Country/Folk Album of the year in the first Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. He was inducted into the Manitoba Aboriginal Music Hall of Fame in 2011.

Charlie Wall-Andrews

Executive Director, SOCAN Foundation

In her position at the SOCAN Foundation, which fosters Canadian music creation by providing grants and awards, she specializes in Corporate Social Responsibility, strategy, revenue generation, and entrepreneurship.

David McLeod

CEO, Native Communications Inc.

David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation) is the CEO of Native Communications Incorporated (NCI-FM), which operates a Manitoba wide radio network, heard from Winnipeg to Churchill via 57 transmitters and the Winnipeg station NOW Country 104.7 FM.

Elaine Bomberry

Artist Manager, Murray Porter

Elaine is Ojibway/Cayuga, from Six Nations, Ontario. She has worked as a freelance Indigenous Arts activist/promoter/producer for 31 years. For 12 years running, Elaine manages Juno winner, Native blues piano man, Murray Porter.

Emily Smart

Director of Marketing & Publicity, Six Shooter Records

Emily is the Director of Marketing & Publicity at Six Shooter Records (Tanya Tagaq, Whitehorse, etc), and owner of independent publicity company Tire Fire Press (Aakuluk Music, Heavy Bell, Beatrice Deer & more).

Jeff Leake

Director, Music Programming, Sirius XM Canada

Jeff has interviewed the biggest names in entertainment over his 20+ years in radio. Leake made a true impact in the Canadian music industry when he signed on to launch the Canadian indie music channel The Verge.

Julien Desaulniers

Artistic Producer, Festival du Voyageur

Julien is the Artistic Director for Festival du Voyageur, Western Canada’s largest winter festival. Celebrating the Franco-Manitoban culture, the festival features over 150 artists from a huge range of genres and styles.

Kerry Clarke

Artistic Director, Calgary Folk Music Festival

Kerry entered the independent music world through community radio 30+ years ago. She’s the long-time artistic director of the Calgary Folk Music Festival – a 39-year ‘post-folk’ festival that sees daily audiences of 13k.

Michelle Szeto

Artist Manager / Tour Marketing Director, Paquin Entertainment Group

Michelle got her first taste of the industry working in concert production for superstars, Oasis, Celine Dion and more. Today, she manages award-winning artists Donovan Woods & Lindi Ortega.

Stephen Carroll

Manager, Music Programs, Manitoba Film & Music

Before starting at MFM, Stephen achieved international recognition as a member of the JUNO-nominated band The Weakerthans. Stephen was awarded Manager of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2013.

Vanessa Kuzina

Artist Management Associate, Six Shooter Records

Vanessa works closely with artists such as Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq, Juno winners Whitehorse, punk-grass Juno winners The Dead South, Rheostatics and avant-pop newcomer Ensign Broderick.

About CBC Music Indigenous Music Awards presented by Casinos of Winnipeg:

Presented annually by Manito Ahbee Festival, Indigenous Music Awards (formerly Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards) is the world’s premier awards show recognizing the accomplishments of Indigenous recording artists and music industry professionals from around the globe.

About Manito Ahbee Festival presented by Casinos of Winnipeg:

Manito Ahbee Festival celebrates Indigenous arts, culture, and music in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The 13th annual festival is May 16-20, 2018 and features the Indigenous Music Awards, Indigenous Music Conference, International Pow Wow, Indigenous Marketplace and Trade Show, Getting Jiggy With It, Art Expo, Art Challenge, and Youth Education Day.