Meet Vancouver’s new music task force

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      The name makes it sound like they should be clad in spandex super-suits, ready to swing down a mighty bass riff on whoever dares besmirch the good name of music. 

      In reality, Vancouver’s first-ever music task force is actually being charged with helping the City implement its music strategy, giving advice and insight into what the sector needs to thrive. Though they could still do that wearing lycra, if they want. 

      “This partnership between the City of Vancouver and the local music industry is unique in nature,” says Lindsay MacPherson, executive director of Music BC, in a statement. Alongside DJ G-Luve, she serves as Music BC’s representative on the task force. “We are very eager to get to work on addressing the needs and priorities of the sector, and supporting the growth and sustainability of musicians, and the music industry, in our city.”

      Lindsay MacPherson, executive director of Music BC, helps support artist and development for musicians across the province and is a standing member of the new task force.

      Joining MacPherson-slash-G-Luve as standing members are Saadi D’hoore, music officer for the City and synth and guitarist for Parlour Panther; Branislav Henselmann, deputy general manager of arts, culture, and community services at the City; Brenda Grunau, manager of Creative BC’s music programs and former station manager for CiTR; Rohaan Sethna, director of destination events at Destination Vancouver; and Claire Leonard, placemaking and public spaces lead at the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. 

      Then we get to the nine community members, a number of whom are familiar to Straight readers.

      On the more corporate side, we have Alison Fraser, a former publicist for Warner Music Canada and longtime media and marketing executive; and Geoff Robins, who was high up at Live Nation for 14 years before moving to Tradable Bits, a tech company that gathers data on fans.

      Diane Kadota, a founding member of Vancouver Independent Music Centre and proprietor of an arts management company, has been involved in Vancouver’s local performance scene for decades. So too has Renae Morriseau, a Cree and Saulteaux interdisciplinary artist, theatre-maker, actor, and musician. 

      Renae Morriseau, a Cree (nehiyaw iskwew ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ) and Saulteaux woman (nahkawiskwêw ᓇᐦᑲᐃᐧᐢᑫᐧᐤ) is a prolific multidisciplinary artist who has worked across theatre, television, film, and music.
      Mark Montgomery

      Joseph Martin, Josh Eastman, and Denise Fraser also join the roster as artists. Martin is a longtime touring and recording musician and collaborator with Bend Sinister, and works as an artist and label manager for 604 Records imprint Light Organ Records. Eastman runs the barrier-breaking Helm Studios and produces countless local projects for local musicians. Fraser, better known as DJ Denise, has been spinning disks for over 20 years and also runs Denzin 8 Productions.

      Rounding out the task force are Nina Horvath, executive director of Coastal Jazz and Blues Society and former director of Vancouver Bach Choir; and Mark Reid, an accomplished music teacher who runs a music education and consulting business.

      Coastal Jazz and Blues Society executive director Nina Horvath joins the Vancouver music task force.

      All together, the task force will be helping the City, per a press release, with “celebrating the sound of Vancouver and the music of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, and attracting and retaining artists, businesses, tourism opportunities and events that strengthen the local economy.”

      According to the release, music generates more than $690 million annually for Vancouver.

      “The industry employs more than 13,000 people, and supports diversity, cultural identity, tourism, infrastructure, job creation, and investment,” says Mayor Ken Sim in a statement. “I look forward to seeing the recommendations from the task force that will strengthen Vancouver’s music industry’s resiliency and long-term viability.”

      Given City Council’s love of getting experts to discuss things, and then sometimes just ignoring their suggestions (see: the climate equity group’s climate justice charter), it’s unclear how much sway the music task force might have. But it’s still a heartening step that demonstrates some municipal investment in such a core creative industry.