BreakOut West 2020 Is Going Online

BreakOut West is moving online for 2020. This year, the annual festival and conference was set to take place in Winnipeg, MB from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4. In response to the ongoing circumstances surrounding COVID-19, BOW 2020 will be making the shift to a virtual event, bringing attendees a 15-day immersive online experience that provides artists and industry the opportunity to expand their careers through keynotes and panel discussions, mentorship meetings, networking mixers, wellness moments, and new music discovery.

The new dates for BreakOut West 2020: Home Edition are Sept. 25 to Oct. 9, 2020.

"The Western Canadian Music Association and our partner music industry associations are excited that this year’s BreakOut West will be coming safely into participants homes, studios, and offices, as we continue supporting artists and industry development through this difficult year,” says Sean McManus, President of the WCMA Board of Directors. “In keeping with the BreakOut West experience, our team is working to bring intimate engagements and broad industry connections to the online experience. We look forward to connecting virtually this fall."

After extensive artist and industry consultation, BreakOut West has decided to emphasize networking and professional development for the 2020 Home Edition. Attendees will be provided with a unique and intimate online atmosphere, where they can build their event schedule and further their career within Canada, and internationally, by participating in a number of event elements, according to organizers. Industry Sessions will bring professionals together to discuss the most relevant topics in today’s music industry – from self-management strategies, to international market deep dives, to the future of music. Sessions will include break out rooms where attendees can engage in the conversation, contributing their thoughts and questions to the discussions.

Meanwhile, Network Mixers and Mentorship Conversations will give artists the opportunity to connect with influential industry professionals, in both casual online group settings, and private one-on-one meetings. BreakOut West: Home Edition will also include regular community wellness sessions, including group yoga, the BreakOut West run club, and meditation.

Attendees will also gain the opportunity to travel virtually to key international markets to learn strategies and insights for breaking out internationally. Artists will learn what is unique about each market, what industry and platforms are relevant, and how and when to engage, as well as gain insider information on what these markets will look like over the coming 6-24 months, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected opportunities. Focus markets will include The United Kingdom, South Korea, Latin America, Russia, The United States, Scandinavia, and Francophone markets in the EU including France, Belguim and Switzerland.

A juried selection of artists will be highlighted for industry delegates coming from every possible time zone, showcasing their work, videos and music, leading up to and during the online event. The BOW team have taken lead from the feedback of online surveys, industry discussions and technology research, leading to the best impact for artists being to focus on preparing everyone for the coming year with development and relationship building. Highlight artists for 2020 can be found here.

BreakOut West: Home Edition will kick off on September 25 with the Western Canadian Music Awards, the winners of the artistic and industry categories will be revealed during a special livestreamed event.

Passes for BreakOut West: Home Edition are available for $50 each, with discounts for members of the Western Canadian Music Industry Associations, SOCAN, CIMA, and CLMA members. Visit to purchase passes.

BreakOut West 2021 will pick up where 2020 initially left off – in Winnipeg, MB – taking place from October 13 to October 17, 2021.

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Michael Raine is the Senior Editor at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Radio weekly podcast.
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