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2019 Panelists

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Adrienne LaBelle is the Project Coordinator at Mint Records and a musician based out of Vancouver, BC. She has been involved in the music world for more than a decade as a musician, songwriter, performer, promoter, grant juror, grant writer, tour booker, tour manager and record label rep.

She has spent many years behind the scenes in the Vancouver music community, where she served on the Board of Directors for the Safe Amplification Site Society from 2012-2015, which included starting and running an all ages venue. She currently sits on the jury for FACTOR and Music BC’s grant programs and is a consultant for SaskMusic’s Career Tracks program.

Adrienne got involved with Mint Records in 2015 as a musician on the roster. She started working as an intern between tours until 2018, when she settled into a full-time position as Project Coordinator. She wears many hats at the label, but her primary role is grant-writing. A self-declared road dog, she has toured extensively and is keen to keep working on both sides of the industry as an artist and label rep. 



Adam Lewis heads Planetary Group, an artist development and promotions firm based out of Los Angeles that focuses on helping new and upcoming artists be heard and discovered through radio and blog exposure in the US and Canada. Recently Adam has worked with such acts as The Decemberists, Soccer Mommy, Courtney Barnett, Fitz & The Tantrums, and Portugal, The Man. In addition, Adam currently handles all publicity, promotion and media buying for Great Northeast Productions.  Prior to Planetary, Adam was the Northeast Sales and Promotion Manager for TVT Records, working with Sevendust, Guided By Voices, The Black Crowes and Snoop Dogg.


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Andrea Kessler is the Manager of Musician Services at MROC – a not-for-profit organization that distributes royalties to musicians. Since joining the team in 2014, Andrea has worked to both provide musicians with their royalties and make the whole process as easy as possible for them. In addition to her work with MROC, Andrea has been part of the team at DevilDuck Records Canada since 2017. 


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Chris Dimas a musician and recording engineer. Following a stint at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Chris returned home to Regina, where he opened a studio, co-founded Grind Central Records, and started working in music full time. In just a few short years, he has recorded more than 80 records and the Grind Central roster has grown to 15 artists including Beach Body, Blue Youth, and Marissa Burwell. In the summer of 2018, he helped launch Grind Central Fest, an annual multi-genre festival in Regina. He currently drums and tours with a number of bands including Surf Dads, Bleeker, and Marissa Burwell. Despite his rigorous travel schedule, you will rarely see him without his headphones on during plane/van/train rides, working on clients' and friends' music.

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Brendan started his professional career in the music industry in 2005 while working at Vapor Music in Toronto ON. After spending a year in a studio, he decided to change things up and hit the road as a tour manager. This led to numerous tours across North America with bands such as Wildlife, Fast Romantics, Hollerado, and many others. After a near-death car accident in rural Quebec while on tour, Brendan quickly refocused his attention to management and founded Double Denim Management a few months later. The company has grown substantially and now represents a roster of nine artists/bands from across Canada, including Art d'Ecco, Fast Romantics, Walrus, WHOOP-Szo, and Devarrow. Brendan also founded Garment District Records in late 2017 to function as a small indie label with the sole mandate of giving amazing new artists the opportunity that larger labels won't. 


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Bled brings an expertise in developing and managing artists from his eight years at Arts & Crafts. He has been instrumental in building and launching tours, album cycles, and projects of all kinds within the company. His management artists currently include Reuben and the Dark, Dan Mangan, FRIGS, and Jason Collett. Additionally, as part of the Field Trip Music & Arts Festival comedy programming team, Bled developed the space for stand-up and sketch comedy at the premiere music event in Toronto.

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Jade joined the Manitoba Music team in 2019 to coordinate the Indigenous Music Export Program. Jade has several years’ experience in program development and event management with specialized skills in the areas of communications, community mobilization, engagement, and marketing. As a Cree and Anishinaabe woman originally from Peguis First Nations (Treaty 1), Jade incorporates her ancestral culture into her work to ensure that the processes she facilitates are celebratory and respectful of Indigenous communities and peoples.


Jade has dedicated both her professional and community life to supporting the success and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples, and as such has worked at the local, provincial, national and international levels on issues such as education, arts, youth capacity development, health and wellness, and violence and sexual exploitation of Indigenous women and girls. She is also an emcee, keynote speaker and facilitator, hand drummer, and traditional singer.


The Indigenous Music Export Program is a new program for Manitoba Music. Funded by the Government of Canada, the program goal is to deliver compelling and relevant programs to First Nation, Metis, and Inuit artist entrepreneurs and industry across western Canada to strengthen connections and generate opportunities for business capacity and export.



Lenore Maier is a musician and organizer based in Saskatoon. She plays drums and sings in Saskatoon surf pop band The Garrys, where she has performed alongside notable acts such as The Sadies, Elliott Brood and La Luz. She also produces ambient electronic works as Ursa and has worked in the realms of film score composition and live theatre sound design. She is the co-founder of Grey Records, an independent music label based in Saskatoon. She has toured across Canada and the UK and has booked several tours for her own bands and others on Grey Records.


Lenore is an organizer with Girls Rock Saskatoon and is the founder of FEMFEST!, an annual musical event in Saskatoon showcasing the music of femme musicians and their feminist allies. She has worked with several music festivals such as The Manitou Boogaloo, Swamp Fest, Sounds Like, MoSo Fest and has been a FACTOR juror since 2014. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Swamp Fest, a multi-media arts festival based out of Regina. Lenore holds a Bachelor of Arts with High Honours in International Studies from the University of Saskatchewan. Through various musical endeavours, Lenore has been nominated for a SATA Award in Outstanding Sound Design (2018), Top Ten in SaskMusic's Best Saskatchewan Albums of the Year (The Garrys - 2017, 2018) and a SaskMusic Award for Alternative Artist of the Year (The Garrys, 2018).


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Sarah Litt is an Agent at Paquin Artists Agency.

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Stephen Carroll is the director of music programs for Manitoba Film and Music. Stephen achieved international recognition as a member of the JUNO-nominated band The Weakerthans (Epitaph/Anti Records). After joining the group in 1998, he managed all of the business affairs and helped steer the group to fame. In 2009 he began managing the Manitoba band Imaginary Cities and went on to form Empirical Artist Services Inc.


Stephen was awarded Manager of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2013, after garnering nominations for the award the two previous years. Stephen was a member of the Board of Directors for FACTOR, and currently serves on the Board of Manitoba Music.

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Straight Outta Stockton, California (home of Pavement & The Diaz Brothers). Mikey started working in the music world at age 17, as a music-buyer and store manager for local record stores as well as booking DIY concerts throughout Northern California. He also worked for The Militia Group (Juliette Lewis, The Appleseed Cast), an independent record company based in Long Beach, for four years. Mikey eventually relocated to Montreal, where he rapidly established himself as a trendsetter, ranking in Nightlife Magazine’s "Montreal personalities that changed our nightlife."


He has been Programming Director for M FOR MONTREAL since 2007 and also books the Santa Teresa & OUMF festivals. His natural ability to discover the best up-and-coming acts has helped the careers of many artists including Mac Demarco, Grimes and Milk & Bone. He was nominated three times and won Best City Champion and Best Festival Networking Activity at the YMCA Awards, in Brighton UK.

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Sarah Murphy is in the midst of an existential crisis after recently turning 30. A graduate of Ryerson’s Master of Journalism program and former CBC intern, she is currently an assistant online editor at Exclaim! where she’s an expert on all things Beyoncé and Taylor Swift (but is also happy to sit in the back corner of dingy pubs and local venues). Like the rest of disgruntled Torontonians, she now lives in Hamilton.

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Deborah Aitken began as a volunteer with Ness Creek Music Festival in 2005, on the team that books the Main Stage. As the Artist & Booking Manager, she is responsible for bookings, scheduling, and onsite management of the Main Stage's staff, volunteers, and performers. She has been very fortunate to learn from many exceptional women in the biz!

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As an On-Air Announcer and Music Director for various major and secondary market radio stations in Western Canada, Lisa spent 14 years (11 of them at GX94 Radio in Yorkton SK) developing relationships and learning how to promote those with talent. From there, Lisa moved to the Yorkton Film Festival and honed her skills in event management, programming and artist liaising, followed by a few years working in the film and television industry. To keep her toes in music during that time, Lisa provided publicity and radio-tracking services for several Regina recording artists, and performed consulting work for local venues and music industry initiatives. In 2012, Lisa joined SaskMusic as a Project Coordinator, where she helped plan workshops and export activities, and administer communications.


Lisa then joined Creative Saskatchewan in 2014 as a Program Officer where she administers grant programs and is a point of contact for applicants seeking support not only in music but for all industries served by the agency, such as book publishing, craft and visual arts, digital media, live performing arts, and film and television. A fan of everything from indie Canadian, to vintage UK, to new wave, to honky-tonk, Lisa spends her free time collecting vinyl and cheering on all with musical talent because she freely admits that she has absolutely none.

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Six years ago, Mark Heise was working for the province in a 9-5 grind, riding a desk in a cubicle with grey textile walls and cold, fluorescent lights. It was a suit and tie kind of gig, but Mark didn’t feel like wearing a suit, or a tie. He walked a different path and refused to conform to the dry, inoffensive norms of an office space everyone else accepted without question or complaint. He spent his weekends brewing beer at home, listening to punk rock and he asked himself “Is this it? Is this all there is?”


The dream of launching a brewery represented a huge risk, but Mark and the other founders were tired of the status quo. They wanted to flip the table on boring, macro beers and change everything – and that meant they had to be rebels. Since it opened, Rebellion has grown to become the largest craft brewery in Saskatchewan. It’s on taps and shelves in more than 200 locations across the province, winning international beer awards, and having earned a well-deserved reputation for a brash, take-no-prisoners attitude.


Today, Rebellion has become more than what Mark and the founders imagined. It’s more than “just beer,” it’s a movement that supports local farmers and producers, artists and musicians – they’ve become a family, building a community of like-minded people who weren’t willing to accept the status quo; and it all started with a guy who refuses to wear a tie.

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Head of Creative & Managing Partner of Toronto-based label acronym records. Started in 2017, acronym is currently home to four artists on a gender-balanced roster, including Saskatchewan’s own Megan Nash, who was the first signing to the label. The other artists are Kaia Kater, Del Barber, and Mikhail Laxton, who will release his first music in early 2020. Including Megan, acronym artists have been recently nominated for JUNOs, WCMAs, SMAs and have appeared on the Long List for the Polaris Music Prize.

Their core values have and always will be to maintain a gender-balanced artist roster as best possible and to promote inclusivity and diversity in all parts of their business.

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Marco Noni is the founder and owner of popTrip entertainment, a worldwide operating boutique agency that unites Artist Management, Artist Booking and Consulting under one roof and is home to a selected roster of fine, mostly Canadian artists. After working one year for a music promotion agency and another two years for an Artist Management company, Marco started an entry free music festival called Heimspiel Open Air in 2004. With up to 8000 music fans attending, presenting national as well as international acts, the festival was a huge success. In 2006 he started his career as a booking agent at Meistersinger Konzerte in Berlin.


Marco relocated to Vancouver in October 2014 and redirected his business by focusing primarily but not exclusively on booking Canadian artists in Germany. Shortly after he also took over the management for Edmonton-based band Scenic Route to Alaska, and began consulting Canadian artists and labels on self-distributed releases in Germany. Artists Marco is currently representing are Scenic Route to Alaska, Terra Lightfoot, The Velveteins, Blonde Diamond (fka Youngblood), Hidden Cameras, Mike Edel, The Wilderness of Manitoba & more.

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Karen Jarowicz is a performer, vocalist, playwright and loud talker. She has roots in the performing arts and film industries, and has worked in Vancouver and Regina as a performer, vocalist, director and production manager for theatre, cabaret comedy and short films. Karen spent six years in Vancouver, working as a boutique talent agent in the Vancouver film and television industry (CTM International - Los Angeles and Vancouver), and is a former Program Coordinator for the Royal Conservatory’s Learning Through the Arts program in Vancouver. Following her return to the prairies, she worked as a professional Arts Educator and English teacher in Regina’s public schools. Karen joined the Creative Saskatchewan team as a Program Officer in 2018. She is an unabashed advocate for creativity in all its forms, and is proud to promote Saskatchewan as a wellspring of incredible talent and diversity across all creative sectors.

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Gabrielle Giroux is best known by her years in the all-female rock band, The Wolfe, from Prince Albert SK, where she was lead guitarist, and managed many aspects of the band’s career. From winning Search For The Star’s 2015 Songwriter of the Year, to making the Top 4 Finalists in CBC Searchlight 2017, and touring across Canada to playing the final Warped Tour, Giroux’s music career doesn’t stop there. After receiving a diploma in Graphic Design, Giroux landed a job at Saskatoon’s Capitol Music Club as their Events, Promotions, and Marketing Specialist. Giroux is now director of a new alternative music festival, Pretty In Punk Fest, which celebrates punk ideologies, and inclusiveness. Follow her at @gabbyagiroux

WITH moderators:

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Mike Dawson, Amanda Scandrett, Lorena Kelly, Brittney MacFarlane

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