I have had many amazing trips to Halifax in my lifetime; however, none of them were like this past one.

I have attended events in Halifax. I have been a tourist in Halifax. I have

staged conferences there. I have run large-scale activations there. One remarkable yet unscientific statistic is that I have never had a crummy time in Halifax. Never. Yet somehow, this trip topped them all.

As a JUNOS Board Member, I was excited to witness our JUNOS & MusicCounts teams, local host committee, EventsEast, Discover Halifax, and partners’ plans come to life.

Halifax made the Canadian music industry proud.

The 2024 JUNOS was an energetic event that took over the downtown area and made it a three-day celebration of humanity. Every nook and cranny of downtown was full of musical joy. Industry titans mixed with individual fans like they were long-lost cousins.

As the host of SponsorshipX, staging our Future of Fandom event, I was eager to evaluate if our city takeover approach to a conference would resonate. We had sessions and experiences in ten different venues across the waterfront, and they worked out seamlessly. The benefit of walking everywhere played a huge factor, but the people were the more impactful component. Collaboration is essential in staging large-scale events, building activations, and curating experiences. I cannot underestimate how fantastic every venue, local partner, and supplier was to work with in Halifax. More than their hospitality, their problem-solving, innovativeness, and insight-sharing made our experiences so much more impactful.

SponsorshipX Halifax was an incredible mix of new friends and longtime friends for me. Our delegates were in awe by the heartfelt origin story that Bernadette from Osmow’s shared of her family’s business that now has thousands of fans. It was Bernadette’s first appearance at SponsorshipX, and it won’t be her last if I have my way. Don Mayo took to our stage for the thirteenth time and blew everyone away with the powerful message that Live Will Thrive in 2025. It was a full circle moment watching Leslie Blachford from TD take our delegates through their fantastic partnership with the JUNOS. It’s always fun to see a T1 alumnus soaring through our industry. Leslie is flying high by always ensuring that the groundwork and preparation for partnerships she leads results in flawless execution.

Speaking of partnerships, SPX collaborated with ADVANCE – Canada’s Black Music Collective for our opening session, which featured pop star and Juno Nominee LU KALA. In her opening comments, Keziah Myers, who runs ADVANCE, shared how they had spent the week visiting Halifax high schools to inspire and inform Black students of the career opportunities in the music industry—legacy building.

My most significant collaboration was with Andres Mendoza and Byron Alfaro of the CARAS team. These two maestros and their colleagues seamlessly integrated SPX into unique events such as the Honouring Ceremony for Indigenous nominees, JUNOfest, and the MusicCounts after-party.

Of course, we couldn’t have a conference about fandom without talking about Taylor Swift, and we were delighted to have some super fans join our discussions, including Jillian Wagner, the Atlantic Canada Swifties co-founder.

If you want insights on fandom, JCJ – Just Call Jillian.

To Jillian and all of our delegates, speakers, partners, and volunteers – you made this trip to Halifax so unforgettable that my only challenge now is how to get invited back quickly.


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