Fourth PEAK Performance Project begins

Top 20 for B.C.’s biggest music competition have been announced;
local artists include The Gay Nineties and Dominique Fricot.

By Estefanía Wujkiw

If you keep up with Vancouver’s local music scene, chances are you’ve heard the Peak Performance Project mentioned at least once since it began four years ago.

Last year’s winners, Current Swell, at the competition finale. (Photo courtesy peakperformanceproject.com)

The competition, which has been a platform for providing up and coming artists of British Columbia with the opportunity to launch their careers, began when the radio station the PEAK approached the Music BC Industry Association with the idea to invest $5,290,000 over seven years.

The executive director of Music BC, Bob D’Eith, explained in a phone interview that the uniqueness of the Project comes from the way it integrates “funding with education, with marketing, with promotion and a radio station to be able to play their music.”

From a pool of about 500 B.C. artists, 50 are selected by an online jury, and then the top 20 are selected by a committee.

These top 20 artists are then put through a stringent process. Part of this includes a boot camp at Rockridge Canyon in Princeton, B.C.  It is purely educational with sessions on how to deal with important aspects of the business, such as the media or online marketing.

At night, all the bands perform and “we have the panel that actually critiques them live about how to improve their live performance,” said D’Eith.

Since the artists are expected to deliver a song that is radio ready, following their show, they get one on one time with the professionals who are involved in the music industry.  They also have the opportunity to spend time in a studio and record songs.

The professional development program is not necessarily a popularity contest, but the most successful acts are often the “most talented who also show that they [have] business sense.”

The top prize for the competition’s finalist is $100,500, which has helped propel the careers of bands like We Are The City from Kelowna, the Juno-award winning band Said The Whale, and The Boom Booms, who are now touring in Brazil.

The next chance to see the top 20 artists perform live is in September and October at the Red Room. The bands will be “bringing their A game because they’re being actually judged; this year it’s anybody’s game,” said D’Eith.

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