Reel Music hits a high note

The annual Reel Music Festival rocked the stage earlier this month at Durham College and with larger events came even bigger success.

The Reel Music Festival is an event put on by the first and second year Music Business Management students at Durham College. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Get Reel’, which exemplified the idea of music in the real world.
The festival is in its 14th year and has grown to encompass several aspects and genres of music. Under the wing of professors Marni Thornton and Tony Sutherland, the event went on without a hitch.
There were three primary events over a four-day period: Prescription 2 Rock, Songs Revealed and multiple concerts that wrapped up the event.
Prescription 2 Rock involved four conferences given by industry professionals, each conference focusing on a different genre of music. First year students were responsible for securing the speakers including host Dave Russell, guitarist for the Guess Who (1993-2000) and organizing the event. The genres were rock, metal, hip-hop and R ‘n’ B, and country.
Thornton said there was a 10-15 per cent increase in attendance compared to last year.
First year students also organized a song writing competition called Songs Revealed. Lauren Toyota, Much Music VJ and graduate of the MBM program, hosted the event. The students had the responsibility of going through the submissions and choosing competitors who had the opportunity to perform original songs live in front of the judges.
“We all work as a class to get everything done for the events.” said Tori Simmons-McCrea, a first-year student.
Thornton ensured throughout the year that the first year students were on the right track in regards to the planning.
“I make sure that they are thinking critically,” she said. “One of the things I often say to them is to think of the event from start to finish from the point of view of different stakeholders. So if you were a guest, think about what they would go through from the time they leave their house to the time they leave the event, what are they going to experience? That to me is a good method to make sure you catch everything.”
The festival concluded with a two-day concert held at different venues throughout Oshawa. Similar to Prescription 2 Rock, each show celebrated different genres of music. On Friday night at Wasted Space, local bands rocked the stage for indie night while across town rhymes were spit at the hip-hip show. The concert, including bookings, sponsorship and ticket sales, was organized by the second-year students.
“The festival prepares and shows us what we want to do,” said second-year student, Graeham Barker.
The students say the festival is a growing experience as individuals.
“We get to know who we are,” added Karly Mohamid also in her second year of the program.
The second-year students are also split into groups mentored by Sutherland.
Funding was critical for the event’s success. Students were given $1,500 to start and acquired additional funding through sponsorships and ticket sales. This money was used for prizes, decorations and other expenses.
“We look at the capacity of the venues, how we’ve done in the past and how much money we think we can generate based on publicity,” said Sutherland.
Sponsors included local radio station 94.9 The Rock, Smokes Poutinerie, The Keg, Monster Aesthetics and TD Canada Trust. According to Sutherland, each year the students plan to make the event “bigger and better”. This year more bands played and overall attendance was higher.

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