Red Deer Entertainment Awards are a big first-time hit

Recognizing local talent should help ‘grow’ new bands, says local artist

Randi Boulton and Damian La Grange were thrilled to be among the local performers honoured at the first-ever Red Deer Entertainment Awards.

The ceremony held for a full-house crowd Saturday at The Vat “is important for growing the local music community,” said hip-hop/indie rocker La Grange, who predicted it will give incentive to new groups to come on scene.

“It’s a positive thing that gives people something to work towards.”

“Northern rock” band Dusty Tucker won Group of the Year and Sharkpuncher was recognized for Best Cover Band. But the biggest winner was Red Deer’s music and entertainment community for getting a big boost after a trying year.

“The event was a huge success,” declared David Gilmore, a member of the event’s board of directors. Although 2016 was tough on live music, as with other industries, he feels the awards “brought a lot of people together … It was great to see everybody all in the same room!”

Performances were spotlighted throughout the evening by Boulton, Shiv Shanks, Ryan Marchant, Wiklund vs Wiklund, Balaclava and SuperTrucker.

La Grange had to bow out due to a bad cold, but was on hand to thank presenters for his New Group of the Year award. The artist, who released his EP, Plot Holes last year, has new singles, including Beautiful Distractions and Life is Strange, coming out in March.

Boulton, who won Best Singer/Songwriter, tipped her hat to nominees in the same category, saying “We are very supportive of each other.” The artist feels validated as a hard-working performer by winning the award and getting peer recognition.

Boulton has recorded four albums and been invited to perform gigs in Calgary and as far as Grande Prairie. She plans to start writing new material so she can record again in 2018.

Ryan Kuly, of Dusty Tucker, thanked fans who nominated his band and the committee that chose it as a winner. “We’ve toured all over Canada and you don’t often see a music scene like we have here.”

His hard rock/country/hip hop group, which released the concept album The North Stone in 2016, hopes to tour to Europe this year and to release a new album in 2018. Dusty Tucker includes vocalist Trav James and musicians Joel Johnson, Nathaniel Court and Whitey Furious.

Pete Stone, of Sharkpuncher, told the crowd he was sure fellow-nominatee KlamDaggers would win.

“There’s lot of good music in Red Deer,” said Stone, who accepted the award on behalf of his bandmates — Nic Carney, Scott Wiber and Rory Burnett.

Gilmore confirmed 2018 will see a second-annual entertainment awards that’s less “off-the-cuff” and with nominations in more categories.

The 2017 Red Deer Entertainment Awards that were won by acclamation are:

-Promoter of the Year: Quan Diep and Justin Shadows

– Premiere Live Music Venue: Bo’s Bar and Stage

– Red Deer Scene (Builder): Terry Cave of The Vat

– All-round Achievement: Carl Stretton, local musician and founder of Red Deer Scene

– Comedy Achievement: Bull Skit

– Comedy Recognition: Clint Worke and The Dirrty Show

– Open Stage: open-mic host Paeton Cameron

– Special Contributions: local entrepreneur and scene-builder Sean Draper


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