November 29, 2023

The five-day conference and three-day music festival BreakOut West has come to a close for another year.

“Growing up in Western Canada sometimes felt isolated from other parts of the industry for us,” said Mike Dawson, executive director of BreakOut West.

“We want to ensure that the immense talent that exists here can stay here and build a career in Western Canada, so all we can do to help them facilitate those next steps is part of why we are doing this whole thing.”

Each year, a different Western Canadian host city is selected, and 2023 was Kelowna’s third turn at making the city into a music hub. It successfully hosted on two previous occasions in 2010 and 2018.

“This time around it meant something that we didn’t expect, we had a really rough tourism season at the end of the season. The arts community was really affected by it and it gave us something to have a little bit of additional tourist engagement this year,” said Karma Lacoff Nieoczym, host committee chair for the Kelowna 2023 BreakOut West festival.

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A press release from BreakOut West states that there were more than 550 registrants and 1,200 festival attendees during the week. There were also 74 Canadian speakers, presenters and mentors, 45 international delegates, 26 conference sessions and over 1,100 one-on-one meetings.

For the musicians attending, it was a chance to meet with industry professionals, connect with other musicians from Western Canada and perform.

One of the musicians who was selected to perform in a showcase was Whitehorse-based musician, Bria Rose.

“It’s indescribable it’s the best feeling in the world, I don’t want to be anywhere else except doing that,” said Bria Rose about performing on stage. “Getting accepted I was just like in the zone, I was focused and excited but mostly I knew this was where I was supposed to be.”

For Bria Rose, the festival couldn’t have been better timed, as her debut EP is set to be released next month.

“I am a self-managed artist for me and my band and my goals were to connect with people and start to find ways to lighten the load and make connections to help with booking and touring, connections for collaboration as well, and telling people to come to Whitehorse,” said Bria Rose.

To officially close out this year’s festival, is a wrap-up party with a big announcement, that BreakOut West will be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan next year.

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But don’t worry, organizers say, this won’t be the last time BreakOut West stops in the Okanagan.

— With files from Kathy Michaels

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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