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Weekly music meet-ups: bringing pros and newcomers together

August 5th, 2011 · 5 Comments

By Karen Bliss

On BS Fridays, local musicians and artists shoot the breeze. Perry King/Gleaner News

A meeting at a local Starbucks with “Steal My Sunshine” hit maker Marc Costanzo from the pop group Len gave Barbara Sedun, EMI Music Publishing Canada’s senior vice-president, the idea to host a free weekly networking event in the Liberty area.

She dubbed it “BS Fridays,” which stands for her initials and brainstorming. An expletive also comes to mind, but BS Fridays is about exchanging information—not BSing.

“I was having tea with Marc at Starbucks and he needed some information that I felt Erin [Kinghorn, a music marketing expert] could provide to him,” says Sedun, who signed Costanzo many years ago to EMI’s stable of songwriters. Len is returning with a new album after a very lengthy hiatus.

“I called Erin to see if she could join us and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be a great idea for people to be able to share information like this on a regular basis?’ so I decided to start a little networking group.”

The first meeting was on January 28, held at the very same Starbucks (732 Queen St. W.) and after about a dozen meetings it moved to Atelier Cafe Lounge (510 King St. W.) for another dozen. It then moved to Veritas in the east end, but will return to Atelier for Aug. 5 and 12 (to keep on top of location changes, join BS Fridays’ Facebook Group).

Daniel Maclean, who runs Atelier and also works in film, has designed the space for daytime meetings and has WiFi and even a projector available, both free. He offers BS Fridays participants a 10 per cent discount on their food and beverage orders.

When Sedun, whose job involves signing songwriters, is travelling, Kinghorn and Scott Honsberger, music journalist and consultant, keep up the meetings. A Facebook group and Twitter account keep everybody informed of changes, but to date, it is held consistently from 2 to 4 p.m.

“I feel that I’ve got a lot of information in my head that I’d like to share with people that are beginning to establish themselves,” explains Sedun. “I thought that a lot of musicians and songwriters are afraid to approach the music industry, so it would be a really good opportunity to bridge that gap a little bit, to see that the industry is more easily accessible and nicer than they think they are. And it gives them a really casual atmosphere to come and ask questions and get to know people in the industry.”

That particular Starbucks, Sedun noted, had open-mic nights, so she spoke with the manager, Joe Boyd, about holding these meetings there and giving singer-songwriters the option to bring their guitars and play their songs. “I realized that he was pretty community and music-friendly and I wanted to help support him,” says Sedun, “but I told him if it grew too big, we would move it elsewhere.”

Besides Sedun, Kinghorn, and Honsberger, members of the BS Fridays contingent have included Costanzo; Yvonne Matsell, who books the El Mocambo and is co-founder of North By Northeast; Cam Carpenter, a manager and publicist from Cool Planet; his partner, Todd Arkell; musician/video director Hill Kourkoutis and her manager mom, Terry Delaportas; and singer-songwriter Angela Saini.

“Basically, we get together and socialize. No agenda, no mandate, no formal structure,” says Honsberger. “Each week we go around the table—or tables—and do a quick introduction of what everyone does. We try and make it simple for new folks to come out and help us grow the group. Inevitably, the conversation steers towards the music industry, and ideas tend to get thrown around.”

“Every single week, there’s at least one introduction that’s made—that is, one person in attendance hasn’t met one other person in attendance,” he says. “These are the types of real connections that are happening each and every week.”

Tags: Liberty · Arts · General

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Romano // Aug 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Sounds like a great idea!!
    My songwriting partner and I would be interested in attending – do we need to register?


  • 2 Chryckie! » Blog Archive » Post #150: BS Fridays & Community Building // Aug 13, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    […] now and again to talk about music, and where the industry is going nowadays. The group is called BS Fridays, and it’s led by Barbara Sedun, EMI Music Publishing Canada’s senior vice-president, and […]

  • 3 SHAUKAT // Aug 26, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Hi dear ,
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    i,m professional musician
    i play traditional instrument
    from Afghanistan , its call Rubab
    i came here to make my career but
    i don,t know were i can go and what i have to do,
    i need to do some thing here in Canada , but i,m
    looking for some one who can show me the right way , so please if u guys can help me that well be nice and thanks my contact number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.

  • 4 barbara sedun // Oct 8, 2011 at 1:20 am

    please feel free to join us by finding us on – do a search for bsfridays and request to join the group. thanks for your interest and thank karen for spotlighting our community. the best is yet to come!

  • 5 Michala Todd // Apr 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

    After reading about BS Fridays, I’m very interested in coming out to attend these sessions.