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OVG and Loft Entertainment acquire Canadian Music Week

The two new owners say they plan to “expand programming, enhance venues and offer unique engagement opportunities for artists and fans”

By Lisa Henderson on 04 Jun 2024

Tim Leiweke, Oak View Group (OVG)

Tim Leiweke, Oak View Group (OVG)


Oak View Group (OVG) and Loft Entertainment have announced the joint acquisition of Canadian Music Week (CMW), Canada’s leading industry conference and music festival founded in 1983.

CMW, which runs this week (1-8 June) in Toronto, is led by founder and president Neill Dixon, who yesterday (3 June) announced his retirement from the organisation after 42 years.

Following the acquisition, OVG and Loft say they plan to “expand programming, enhance venues and offer unique engagement opportunities for artists and fans” so that CMW remains a “cornerstone event in the global music industry.”

At the same time, both firms are “committed to preserving the festival’s heritage while introducing fresh, dynamic elements that reflect the evolving music landscape.”

Canadian Music Week will continue to be headquartered in Toronto, with dates and details for the 2025 festival forthcoming.

OVG, the Los Angeles-based venue development, management and hospitality company led by Tim Leiweke, made its first foray into Canada in 2021 with the Hamilton Arena Project, which recently broke ground.

The firm says it is “deeply committed to investing in Canada [and] has been active in the market for over two years, forming strategic partnerships with prominent brands, including Canada Basketball, Great Canadian Gaming, McCain, GFL, Sports Interaction, ADP, and Diageo”.

“Neil’s vision has set a high standard that we are eager to uphold and expand upon”

Tom Pistore, president of OVG, said: “Oak View Group is delighted to expand our investment in the Canadian market and partner with Loft Entertainment in acquiring Canadian Music Week. This acquisition, along with our Hamilton Arena Project (which recently broke ground), aligns perfectly with our mission to elevate live entertainment experiences across the globe. We look forward to leveraging our expertise in venue management and conferences to take CMW to new heights. Together, we aim to deliver an unforgettable experience that celebrates the vibrant music culture of Canada and beyond.”

Loft Entertainment is a Canadian entertainment company helmed by industry veteran Randy Lennox, who formerly ran Universal Music Group Canada and Bell Media.

Commenting on the CMW acquisition, Lennox adds: “We are incredibly proud to bring Canadian Music Week into the Loft Entertainment Media family in partnership with Oak View Group,” he stated. “CMW has a rich history of championing music and artists, and we are committed to building on that legacy. Our vision is to enhance the festival experience, creating new opportunities for artists and attendees alike, while maintaining the core values that have made CMW a beloved event.

“As Neill Dixon steps into a well-deserved retirement, we honour his remarkable dedication to making CMW the influential event it is today. His vision has set a high standard that we are eager to uphold and expand upon.”

CMW was launched in 1983 by David Farrell and his wife Patricia Dunn-Farrell–then co-publishers of the weekly Canadian music trade, The Record. It began as The Record Music Industry Conference and was modelled on competitor RPM Weekly’s “Three Days in March” conferences in the late ‘60s and ‘70s.

Dixon’s marketing company Chart Toppers was initially hired in 1983 to book speakers, and organise panels for the annual event. Over the next few years, the convention morphed into Canadian Music Week, and Dixon became a co-partner a couple of years after it began

This year’s CMW is expected to draw some 3,000 delegates and host over 300 performing artists at 25 venues.

 


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