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Kingston music strategy goes to city council

At Tuesday’s meeting, Kingston city council will consider a strategy meant to support the city’s music community.

It will call for the transfer of $200,000 in funds from the capital budget of the arts and culture services department to Tourism Kingston to support the implementation of the strategy.

The strategy enlisted the consulting firm Nordicity to identify existing issues in the local music scene and make recommendations to support its growth and sustainability.

The document is dense with a number of ideas that will be longer term goals, but an immediate step and one that is emphasized in the strategy is the creation of a Kingston Music Office and the appointment of a Music Officer.

That person will in effect act as the middle-man between city hall and the music community and try to lend a perspective from the music community to city made decisions and events.

Of the $200,000 proposed as an initial annual cost, $100,000-$150,000 is expected to be used for staffing.

To start, the establishment of a Music Office will be the biggest change to Kingston’s music scene and will be integral to the pursuit of any recommendations laid out in the strategy.

Kingston’s Acting Director of Arts and Culture Services, Danika Lochhead says appointing a Music Officer is a recognition by the city that dedicated manpower is needed to move the strategy forward.

They will have a lot of sway when it comes to music related decisions, and Lochhead says their work will be critiqued by both the city and a community music working group to help oversee a successful implementation.

“The main checkpoint and a sort of accountability piece for the Music Officer will be both to the city through regular reporting on work plans and key performance indicators that are identified and embedded within the Kingston music strategy,” Lochhead said.

“But the biggest sort of continual touch point for the Music Officer position is going to be through the Kingston music working group, which is going to be comprised of community champions and working members in the Kingston music scene, including local musicians, representatives from the union… there’s going to be a broad representation.”

While the strategy ultimately looks to support the music industry with better economic conditions and other objectives like the creation of a mid-sized venue in Kingston, it’s also meant to highlight how music can have residual benefits on the city, especially the tourism sector.

While $200,000 is the initial ask to get the ball rolling with the establishment of a music office, $83,500 has already been spent on the consulting fee for Nordicity’s work.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporterhttp://ygknews.ca
Born and raised in Whitby, Ontario, Owen has been living in Kingston for about three years after starting the band Willy Nilly. Prior to that he worked at CKLB radio in Yellowknife and completed studies in Niagara College's Broadcasting program.

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