INTERVIEW with INDIE Week Canada’s founder Darryl Hurs.

What an honor it was to catch up with Indie Week Canada’s founder Darryl Hurs regarding his successful 17th annual festival that sports over 200 emerging and diverse acts from around the world will perform at 20+ venues in downtown Toronto over the course of five days and nights.
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Good afternoon Darryl. Toronto is going to be exploding with oodles of super talent in no time, as Nov. 13-17 is fast approaching. Thanks for taking time out of your extremely tight schedule to answer a few questions for our Wire Megazine readership. DEB: Q. 1) Darryl, in your career you have worn many hats in this biz and we wish to congratulate you on your newest position, where will we see you shine within CD Baby? DARRYL HURS: I am super excited to be a part of the CD Baby international development team! A few things we are working on are activations at festivals/conferences, education programs to help artists learn how to market and monetize their music as well as a few marketing campaigns that will highlight Canadian artists. It’s going to be a busy year and I am looking forward to helping labels and artists achieve their goals.

DEB: Q. 2) Darryl, did you ever think that your once festival hobby would ever explode into an independent music scene flagship festival that would effect 10s of 1,000’s of musicians each year that bid for a spot?  DARRYL HURS: Never! It was literally a hobby that was started out of frustration for festivals not giving local talent an honest chance. We are very proud of the work we do on an indie budget.”

DEB: Indie week Canada is 1 of the longest-running music festivals held upon the Toronto music scene for an impressive 17 years. 
Q. 3) How did it come to fruition and grow into an international festival?  DARRYL HURS: “About 5-6 years ago I realized that it was important to make some changes and make a concentrated effort to grow international awareness and partnerships. I am very proud of what we were able to do in that regard in that time. This year it is looking like we will have 20 countries represented with partnerships with associations/ festivals in Brazil, Korea, and Israel. Our partnership with COMA festival in Brasilia had us showcase Triss (Korea) and SATE( Toronto, Canada) this August.”

DEB:  Q. 4) Are there new incentives this year?  DARRYL HURS: “Yes!  We always are looking for ways to improve what we have done in the past as well as introduce new ideas. This year we will include more activities that have B2B components for businesses and bands. We want to connect artists to industry. There will also be more workshops and mentorship sessions for artists – education is a very important category for us. We also are working on a very important topic – indigenous artists and the community. We will have more information on what we are planning soon but it is something dear to us. I attended the Indigenous Music Awards in Manitoba earlier this year and it was eye-opening.” 

DEB: Q. 5) Where do you see this independent convention-style festival heading, say within the next 3 to 8 years, as it would reach the 20 to 25th-year milestones? DARRYL HURS: I think it is more relevant than ever. People need to make connections and conference festivals is where an artist can make a lot of connections in just a few days. It’s also important to note that results may not happen for a long time but you never know where people will end up in this business and the more allies you have the better off you are.” 

DEB: Q. 6) Have you seen or felt a major shift or change in music today compared to 25 years ago Darryl?  DARRYL HURS: “A huge change! In every aspect. Live shows are completely different – its harder for indie acts to draw people out and we have seen the result of a number of venues closing in many cities. Promotion and marketing is also different – back in the day we handed out flyers and put up posters – I rarely see any of that these days. Artists need to learn how to market properly online. Selling music is almost non-existent in comparison it’s all about streaming and publishing/royalties.”

DEB: Q. 7) And do you have any advice to emerging artists?  DARRYL HURS: “This business can be easy to develop an indie act in their local market – it’s just is a huge amount of work and you have to be better than others, work harder than others and be relentless. It’s tough. You have to work smart and work hard and be open to change as this business will change and you have to be ready for it.”

Indie Week hosts the Indie 101 conference which includes guest speakers from around the world, a tech day, a Health & Wellness day and the Indie Week Awards. Indie Week Canada showcases acts from all over the world in front of music industry professionals, across venues in downtown Toronto with a 4 am last call and after-parties; basically, it’s a week of Entertainment, Education and Networking. So, click on over to http://www.indieweek.com and stay in tune with all your Indie Week Music Festival + Industry Conference 2019 needs, tickets, event information, artists info and so much more. REGISTER TO ATTEND INDIE WEEK 2019 by visiting http://www.indieweek.com/tickets

Thanks Darryl Hurs for your time and insight, congrats on your 17th season and cheers to many more successfully Indie Week Festivals in Toronto Canada!