Playing their hearts out

Les Jupes one of four local bands getting the chance to perform for industry reps from across North America

Praying for hope in fall: Les Jupes will be one of four acts playing for industry reps as part of Manitoba Music’s showcase at the Lo Pub on Sept. 21. Courtesy Manitoba Music

It’s fair to say that the members of Les Jupes have more than enough experience under their belts, but they’re hoping one September evening will be the turning point in their musical careers.

Les Jupes, along with three other Manitoba bands and artists, will play for a range of music industry reps from across North America on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the Lo Pub.

“In many ways we’re still a new band. This is a new lineup, and showcasing for industry professionals is a great way to get feedback on what is working and what isn’t,” said Mike Petkau, vocalist and guitarist for Les Jupes. “These showcases also have a diverse audience, so it’s great for us to reach out to new people who may like what we do.”

Rounding out the hotly anticipated showcase are pop-punkers The All Night, indie rockers Enjoy Your Pumas and singer-songwriter Heather Longstaffe.

The showcases are something Manitoba Music has been organizing for the last few years to help attract industry professionals to Manitoba’s most promising acts.

Guests at these showcases include major and indie music labels, film and TV music supervisors, agents, managers, producers, songwriters and festival bookers.

Bands playing this year will play for Goldfinger drummer Darrin Pfeiffer (who represents High 4 Records), Amanda van den Brock from Wonderboy Entertainment (Lights, Broken Social Scene), MDM Recording and Coalition Entertainment.

“We started putting on showcases locally for guest speakers from our MusicWorks professional development workshop series in 2008,” said Rachel Stone, Manitoba Music’s communications manager. “We saw an opportunity to further connect our local scene with industry people – both to showcase specific artists, but also to add to Manitoba’s reputation as a place bursting with a world-class music industry.”

Winnipeg doesn’t have much actual music ‘industry’ here. ... It’s good for Winnipeg musicians to be exposed to what’s going on in the broader industry and get some enhanced perspective.

Mike Petkau, singer and guitarist, Les Jupes

Any Manitoba Music member can get in on the showcases by watching for calls for submissions on the Manitoba Music website.

“The criteria, which is listed in the calls for submissions, is tailored to each event and to the guest speakers in attendance,” Stone said. “We work with the industry guests to make sure they’re seeing bands they may want to work with.

“Some bands have started working with publicists we’ve brought in, some have placed songs in TV shows, some have started co-writing, some have found an agent,” she said.

When not playing with Les Jupes, Petkau runs Head In The Sand Records and is the artistic director of the West End Cultural Centre. Showcases are essential to the local music scene for artists and industry alike, he said.

“Winnipeg doesn’t have much actual music ‘industry’ here,” he said. “There aren’t many notable managers or labels that have real clout in Canada or abroad. So it’s good for Winnipeg musicians to be exposed to what’s going on in the broader industry and get some enhanced perspective.

“There’s a lot for us artists to learn and lots of hard work ahead of all of us as we start to look beyond our borders, which is essential to building a lasting career.”

Showcases should continue throughout the fall/winter season. Visit to find out more.

Published in Volume 65, Number 3 of The Uniter (September 16, 2010)

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