Edmonton businesses, venues welcome economic boost from Juno week festivities
Businesses and venues in Edmonton are gearing up for a busy week as the 2023 Juno Award week festivities take over the city.
A variety of events will be held from Thursday to Sunday before the official award show is held on March 13 at Rogers Place.
The show and related events are expected to be a sizeable money-maker, expected to generate about $9 million in revenue, according to show organizers.
Alexandra Hryciw, director of external affairs at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, said there has been considerable preparation for the city to host the award show again after 40 years.
"I think all downtowns across Canada are struggling just with the hybrid work environment and what vibrancy looks like," she said.
"So I think this is really coming at a really opportune time for Edmonton as we are turning the page, maybe hopefully on recovery and looking more optimistically to the future."
Garrett Turta, general manager at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, said the hotel is close to 50 per cent booked, though he would normally expect an event like the Junos to see the hotel 70 to 80 per cent booked. Still, he thinks events like the Junos can rejuvenate people's desire to return to the downtown core.
"I think by the end of the year, we should be pretty close to it," Turta said
That's a hope also shared by Tyson Boyd who owns and operates the entertainment venue The Starlite Room.
"The biggest [challenge] has been simply putting the teams back together, getting technicians together, finding some kind of sense of consistency," Boyd said.
"We've had a lot of technicians and cultural workers that moved on to different career paths."
The venue will play host to 35 artists at three different stages from Thursday to Sunday as part of JunoFest. Boyd said a downside is that ticket sales for these smaller shows have been poor.
"Venues like this, we're the ones who help develop the grassroots artists," Boyd said.
"The JunoFest showcase is ... literally showcasing our up-and-coming talent, and potentially the ones who are going to be winning in Junos in the future."