On Wednesday, March 7 at the Five Points Theatre (formerly the Mady Centre for the Performing Arts) in downtown Barrie, Ontario, representatives from CultureCap and Nordicity unveiled the brand-new Barrie-Simcoe County Music Strategy. The Strategy was informed by a recent survey that garnered more than 270 responses from community members across Simcoe County, as well as consultations with local artists, labels, venues, tourism officials and municipal staff from local governments.
Combining various independent data sources, an inventory and map of musical resources in Simcoe County was constructed. 256 music businesses were identified in the County, mostly concentrated in five clusters: Barrie, Midland, Orillia, Wasaga Beach and Collingwood. As such, the Strategy sets a bold vision that “Simcoe County will be nationally-recognized as a constellation of distinct local music scenes committed to artistic ambition” within three years, where its distinct scenes shine brighter when united.
To reach this goal by 2021, the Strategy proposes the following mission for Simcoe County governments and the music community:
- Build the foundation to support and advocate for music
- Connect people in the music community, both internally and externally
- Streamline regulatory pathways
- Promote accessibility to reasonably-priced rehearsal spaces
- Tell stories and build an identity to bolster a local star system
42% of the financial activity of music businesses in the County is generated in the summer season, and the Strategy suggests creating a cluster in the live music sector with festivals, venues and artists, and also framing Simcoe County as a place that “lets festivals happen.”
The project is being spearheaded by many local partners: Regional Tourism Organization 7 (RTO7), Simcoe County, the City of Barrie, the City of Orillia, the Town of Collingwood and the Central Ontario Music Council (MusicCO).
To guide the execution of the Strategy, a collaborative organizational structure in which MusicCO acts as a coordinating body of several Local Municipal Music Committees, beginning with Barrie, Orillia and Collingwood, is proposed.
Stay tuned for updates from the project’s partners in the near future as the results of the study and the full Barrie-Simcoe County Music Strategy are officially released.