So… I wasn’t going to do any Juno stuff. Largely, I’ve never really cared about pop music contests and that’s only increased with time. If the junos weren’t in Regina this past weekend, I would have done what I do about them every year: not a god damned thing.
However, since it’s the first time the Junos have been Regina, in its 43-year history, I figured I’d better take what opportunity I can get.
JunoFest includes all events and performances outside of the main awards show. That’s all I had interest in attending.
I only had one night open, so I figured I’d better make the best of it. The most appealing show to me was at The Exchange. Doors at 9:00. Here’s where things got a little aggrivating.
The Junos website is brutally set up! It’s very hard to find information such as who is playing when/where, how to get tickets, etc. After a brief, frustrating search, I find out that you can only buy advance tickets to JunoFest through ticketmaster and the only price available is $30 (+$5 “convenience fee”). You know how you can print of tickets or send them to your cell phone, e-mail, whatever these days? Who cares about any of that complicated crap? For that $5 convenience fee, the only available option to get your tickets is to physically go to the goddamned Agridome (yeah, I know, It’s the Brandt Centre) and pick up tickets, then exchange them for your weekend pass when you go to your first JunoFest show.
As it turns out, it was possible to buy tickets at the venue for just one night for $20. There is one very small, obscure reference to this on the Junos’ shitty website, so I missed that tidbit. $35 for a weekend pass that I won’t have time to fully use is a pain when $20 was an option, but I convince myself that it’s okay because I know that I’m going to see Corb Lund, Sarah Slean, Rose Cousins, Royal Wood, Jim Cuddy, Amelia Curran and a few others and really, it’s just $35. Small price to pay for the who’s who of Canadian B-list, right? But I still have to get to #@Q$$#@%^#$& Agridome (by bus, since I don’t have a car) to get the tix. Ugh.
Late afternoon on Friday, tickets in-hand, my irritation is subsiding. I make plans to head to The Exchange with a friend and get there before 9:00 (when doors open). In my ignorance (and I’m still blaming the lack of information available on Junos’ website) I assume that because we got tickets in advance, of course we’ll be able to walk right in. We get in line (which runs from the main door to around the corner of the building) and eagerly wait. Around 9:15, it’s heard through the grapevine that the place is actually already at capacity and if you have a wristband or tickets (which we did), you don’t get in until people leave and if you don’t have a wristband or ticket, find something else to do with your night.
There I was, with dozens of other schmucks, thinking that buying a ticket to a show means you actually get in to the show.
We waited in line for two and a half hours, about half of which was spent outside in the cold. From the foyer, we hear Corb Lund, Rose Cousins, Royal Wood… God damn it!
Around 11:20, we’re finally inside and managed to catch Jason Plumb and the Willing, Belle Starr, Jim Cuddy, Great Lake Swimmers and a handful of others. Didn’t leave until nearly 2:00 AM. In the end, we had a good time. I’m still a little sore about missing a few of my favourites, but not much can be done about that now. I’m sure other opportunities will present themselves sometime down the road. Overall, the night still beat sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs wondering how JunoFest is going.
In 43 more years, when Regina hosts the Junos again, maybe I’ll go again and just get to everything a little earlier.