Awards show looks to highlight the best

CIVLFM is hosting the first annual Fraser Valley Music Awards to celebrate local musicians. Music submissions accepted until March 31.

CIVL FM Station Manger Aaron Levy (left) and FVMA Coordinator James Kasper are organizing the first annual Fraser Valley Music Awards to celebrate and honour local musicians. Online music submissions are open until March 31.

CIVL FM Station Manger Aaron Levy (left) and FVMA Coordinator James Kasper are organizing the first annual Fraser Valley Music Awards to celebrate and honour local musicians. Online music submissions are open until March 31.

Grab your picks, mics or drumsticks. The Fraser Valley Music Awards (FVMA) are now accepting submissions.

Organized and hosted by CIVL Radio (101.7 FM), this major music event is coming to the Fraser Valley for the first time. It’s an opportunity for exposure, networking, and musical career growth unlike any other in the region.

CIVL was granted $50,000 from the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) back in July 2015 to bring their proposal to reality.

James Kasper, founder and producer of the Vancouver Island Music Awards for 11 years, came on board as FVMA Coordinator, bringing the perfect mix of expertise that the role requires.

“The aim of this event is to inject new life into local arts and culture,” Kasper says.

“There is an abundance of great music in the Fraser Valley, and we want to bring attention to it and bring all facets of the scene together on one night to network and celebrate.”

Solo musicians, groups and bands are invited to submit their material online now until March 31 at civl.ca/fvma. Genres of music include rock, metal, electronic, hip-hop, blues, folk, classical, and more.

A diverse jury of music industry professionals will bring local and regional expertise to the nominees.

“Ultimately, it’s about the music,” Kasper explained. But the judges are looking for more than mere talent in performance. They’ll comb through the nominees for creativity and ingenuity, production quality, live performance ability, even the marketability.

Up to 10 nominees will be invited to perform at the big event, and selected musicians will be included on a widely promoted compilation album.

In advance of the awards ceremony, CIVL will also be hosting a variety of lead-up events for networking, education and additional exposure, including a 2016 Battle of the Bands.

The FVMA’s are open to musicians of all ages. Youth who are aspiring toward a career in music are particularly encouraged to participate.

“We think the talent exists in the Valley at a level whereby the next Arcade Fire or Feist can be from east of the bridge,” CIVL Station Manager Aaron Levy explained.

“Our goal is to provide a jumping off point from which they can achieve that level of success.”

Organizers and partners are continuing to build the benefits packages for winners and nominees. Prizes include paid gigs, recording time, feature media coverage, industry consultations, merchandise, cash, and more.

“As an independent musician, all of that stuff is hard to get on your own, but it’s so crucial in order to take your career to the next level,” Kasper explained.

Aspiring musicians can get stuck in a rut, performing standard bar or cafe gigs year after year without making much progress in their career. The annual FVMA’s are going to be pivotal and climactic for musicians in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and communities across the region.

“It’s also a a huge way to raise the awareness among the general public of the great music that’s in their own backyard,” Kasper said.

The Fraser Valley Music Awards will be held July 16, 2016 at the Abbotsford Arts Centre.

Those interested in participating can complete the online application at www.civl.ca/fvma. There is a $10 processing fee to apply. Musicians are asked to provide links to music samples and/or artist web pages.

All FVMA inquires, including volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, can be directed to fvma@civl.ca.