London, Ont., is a hotbed of Canadian talent as a long, music-filled weekend wraps up its celebrations.
On Monday night, the city hosted the 2021 Canadian Country Music Association Awards, following a weekend packed with free events and concerts for Londoners.
One of the first major entertainment events held in the city since its inception COVID-19 pandemic, the show also marks the return of live festivals for the CCMA Awards, which were forced to go virtual in 2020.
The long-awaited comeback by Dallas Smith, who took home the most awards Monday night, including the CCMA’s top prize, Entertainer of the Year.
Smith told Global News: “The whole weekend so far has been a celebratory feel to the whole thing.
“We were in the same room for the first time in several years. Just that alone felt really unbelievable.”
For The Reklaws, the evening was like a “family reunion that has been delayed by two years,” according to Stuart Walker, who makes up half of the brother duo.
The two brothers led the group in nominations and were awarded Group or Duo of the Year.
Coming from North Dumfries, the CCMA Awards also bring a sense of familiarity to The Reklaws.
“In our view, London is just full of the best country music fans,” Stuart said of the city just 401 hours south along 401st from the group’s home city.
Jenna Walker added: “It’s nice to be so close to home, it feels like home.
The night and weekend that preceded it, yielded countless lessons for Rising Star winner Robyn Ottolini, who has spent the past few days absorbing as much knowledge as possible from his industry peers. me.
“I think there is always room to grow, there is always room to improve, and the second you stop listening to criticism is the second time you stop growing,” Ottolini said.
“There’s been a lot of learning and a lot of observations this weekend that I’ll really keep in mind.”
Before the show, co-host Priyanka told Global News she was “ready to crush it,” which she demonstrated throughout the night alongside co-host Lindsay Ell, as well as during the performance. solo her new single Country Queen.
Priyanka, who won the inaugural edition of the Canadian Extended Race in 2020, says she never expected to be invited to host and perform at the CCMA Awards.
“This is shocking, but I’m so glad it’s happening these days and I’m so glad I’m brown. This is doing this for brown people to show them that the color of your skin doesn’t matter. , We can all just come together, be talented and sing a good country song,” said Priyanka.
“The stage is big enough for all of us.”
Monday marks London’s second night as the temporary home of Canadian country talent, which previously hosted the CCMA Awards in 2016.
Local officials say it is part of the biggest weekend of the year so far in the city and gives a much-needed boost to London’s music venue and hospitality industry.
Even though the show has ended, country music fans can still catch an encore presentation airing at 9 p.m. ET Friday at Global TV.
The full list of winners can be found on CCMA’s website.
Register with the host of the CCMA Awards 2021
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8411772/london-ont-2021-ccma-awards/ London plays host to CCMA Awards’ long-awaited live return