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Tuesday, 31 March 2020 14:48

A Quick Word With...

Written by Roddy Campbell
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Rob Oakie, excutive director of Music P.E.I.

Music PEI executive director Rob Oakie has overseen one of the most successful programs in the country. Artists such as Irish Mythen, Catherine Maclellan, The East Pointers, Vishtan… have all enjoyed remarkable national and international recognition through the progressive promotional efforts and support from Oakie and the island’s musical organization.

Questions by Roddy Campbell. When was Music PEI started and why?

It started originally in 2001 with the Music PEI Awards Association. In 2005, I had joined the board. There were a couple of guys there who were artist managers— Grady Poe and Roy Doyle. They informed me that we were the only province without a music industry association. So we started to lobby the government and it took two years. After two years getting nowhere with the bureaucrats, I called up the premier [Pat Binns] and got a meeting with him, and within 20 minutes had a commitment for $150,000.

What sort of programmes do you offer?

We give out close to $100,000 a year. We have three levels of funding, targeting artists at a certain point in their career. There’s an emerging artist grant, an export and marketing grant, and the big one, which is called the career investment. It goes $1,000, $2,200, and $10,000. They are all funding the same thing it’s just to a different amount. You can use any of these grants for marketing, touring, showcasing, and professional development—those are the four main things that we cover.

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