Hamilton’s music industry has been a pillar of our cultural community and economy since its inception. As early as the turn of the century Hamilton was forming key institutions in the music sector including the Philharmonic and Musicians Union that would lay the foundation for decades of success.
Today Hamilton’s music scene is one of the most diverse cultural industries we have to celebrate. On any given day of the week our community can hear jazz, punk, classical, alternative, hip hop, orchestral or choir (to name a few genres) at over 100 local establishments where music is key to their regular programming. Access to music-based experiences is also extremely diverse from all-ages shows to pay-what-you-can, free festivals to top-notch international acts at Hamilton Place and Copps Coliseum, and all points in between. Clearly music has permeated the local culture.
From an industry perspective Hamilton has been at the forefront for decades. Many Hamilton studios and companies have become pinnacles in the industry: Grant Avenue Studios, Vibewrangler, Sonic Unyon Records, Key Music Group & International Tour and Tech Academy, and many others. These companies are active on a national and international scale, representing both Hamilton and Canada as they coordinate major festivals, distribute Canadian production around the world, and generate some of the finest recordings in the business. It is key to note here that Hamilton is present at all levels of the industry: artists (the musicians), production (recording studios), management (labels, A&R reps, and promoters), presentation (clubs, concert halls, festivals) and distribution (online and retail sales, mass distribution world wide).
Artistically Hamilton has been a hotbed for music on all levels. Award-wining talent has been generated by our community in most every genre. Well established artists such as Daniel & Bob Lanois, Tom Wilson, Junior Boys, Teenage Head, John Ellison, Blue Rodeo, Marble Index, The Reason, Neil Peart, The Arkells, Lorraine Segato, Treble Charger, Jackie Washington, King Biscuit Boy, Simply Saucer, Boris Brott, Stan Rogers, Ian Thomas, and countless others have reached great heights artistically. A little known fact is that the English lyrics to O Canada, our national anthem were penned by a Hamiltonian Robert Stanley Weir.
On all fronts Hamilton is not only participating, but actively leading in the music industry in Canada.
Hamilton as a Creative Magnet
The growth of Hamilton’s creative cluster has been a noticeable trend over the past few years. Beyond local press coverage, it has caught the eye of the regional and national press a number of times and has garnered strong support in the community. The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Toronto Life, CBC Radio, among others, have focused new interest on the growing arts and culture scene in Hamilton: