The Kootenay Music Awards will be produced by Kootenay Co-op Radio’s Andrea Varsany (left) and hosted by Mike Garbula. Photo submitted

Kootenay Music Awards set to go, with changes

There will be new categories, a new voting method, and a new venue

The Kootenay Music Awards are back for their sixth year, with some changes.

The winners won’t be decided by online voting, as in the event’s past five years, but by a music industry panel.

“What we found is that performers with a big social media presence get the most votes, and those who don’t, lose out,” says Stephanie Myers of Kootenay Co-op Radio, which produces the event. “So it is not an even playing field.”

Winners will instead be chosen by a group of eight to 10 people.

“These would be people involved in the music business, who run venues, music promoters, festival promoters, arts council, Selkirk music program, people who have lots of experience and know a wide range of music, from a DJ that would play at Shambhala to somebody who is a classical performer.”

But there will be online voting for best music video and artist of the year.

This year’s event will be held at Bloom on March 16, produced by Andrea Varsany and hosted by Mike Garbula. The performers will be some of the winners from last year.

The categories are new this year too. They are roots song (includes country, folk, and bluegrass), rock song (includes metal and punk), electronic song, blues song (includes jazz, soul and funk), reggae song (includes ska), pop song (includes singer-songwriter), and cover band.

And there will be a lifetime achievement award and an award for best music venue.

All submissions must have been recorded in the Kootenays after February 12, 2017.

Myers says the reputation of the awards has grown over the years.

“It is getting a bit more credibility. I have seen a couple of press releases come across my desk where musicians have used the fact that they are previous Kootenay Music Award winners, so it is getting a bit more known. The Kootenay Music Awards is kind of a starting place, or a place to continue your career up and outwards.”

To find out how to submit or nominate, visit

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