If you thought duck faces and selfies had more than seen their time in the spotlight and were ready to be retired in favour of something—anything—else, this is not the story for you.
On March 29, 2014 at Winnipeg's St. Vital Centre, dozens and dozens of fans (perhaps hundreds, counting faces in a crowd is better left to someone with skills in that area) lined up to get an up-close glimpse to their favourite musicians, some of whom were nominated for Junos.
It's called JUNO Fan Fare, and it featured 18 musical acts performing and/or signing autographs as part of the 2014 Juno Awards, with Much VJs Liz Trinnear and Scott Willats hosting the event.
To get the crowd amped up, Trinnear and Willats found two enthusiastic fans in the audience (one was a huge Tyler Shaw fan) to face off against each other. Their task: take as many selfies as they could in 60 seconds, with the winner receiving tickets to the Juno Awards and a practice run beforehand.
The competition was fierce, as both scurried around the crowd, furiously poking at their iPhones as fast as their thumbs would let them. But there could only be one winner at the end of the bloodbath, and the Tyler Shaw fan it was not. To his credit, he very graciously shook hands with the winner, even though he could barely hide the crestfallen look on his face.
But lo! Trinnear and Willats announced that he, too, would receive a pair of tickets, and the Tyler Shaw fan just about exploded in excitement. The look on his face when he found out he was also in was just priceless, and really gratifying to see such a nice, gracious kid have a good thing happen to him.
In between this round of selfies and the next in the second portion of the JUNO Fan Fare, Colin and John Angus from The Trews performed, along with D-sisive. The latter particularly knew how to play at the crowd, repeatedly interrupting his own performance for "live updates" that his hit single was climbing the Much charts in Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Estonia.
Sitting on the sidelines afforded me many chances to look around and observe the fans who showed up, with one of the sweetest moments coming when Trinnear and Willats identified a female Dean Brody fan, and had him walk over to her when he was trotted out. The girl was so overcome with emotion at meeting her idol, she just barely managed to shake his hand and receive a hug, tears slipping down her face and shaky hands covering her mouth after he took his seat.
Was it a little kitschy? Yes, but that's not the point. We can all remember times in our lives when that one musician or band dominated our every thought, and what we would have given just to be face-to-face with them for even a few seconds. For those fans at the St. Vital Centre on March 29, 2014, that was their day and many got to see their one of their dreams come true.
It's not often 18 of Canada's brightest musical and most popular musical acts are gathered under one roof, and put on display for free. It's also why the festivities during the week of the Juno Awards are so distinct(ly Canadian): the fun is well within reach, eschewing appearances in favour of accessibility.
And besides, the only ones who look down on it are the ones who don't throw all of themselves in, and watch too-cool-for-school from the sidelines.
The fun only happens when you let yourself be right in the middle of it.
The following artists were in appearance at JUNO Fan Fare on March 29, 2014:
Small Town Pistols*
Tegan and Sara*
The Trews (Colin & John Angus)
Three Days Grace*
Walk Off The Earth*
*denotes a 2014 JUNO Award nominee