This continues from Day 1 – This morning we went to the Juno FanFare, an opportunity for fans to get autographs from some of the nominated Juno musicians. It was held for a number of hours, and I took hundreds of photos that haven’t yet made their way online. An amazing experience.
An hour after getting back to the hotel to download those photos, we headed out again, this time to the Juno Gala, where 30 awards were being presented. We had only 1 media pass to this event, but worked some *magic* with the organizers to get us both in. I think they also gave up on organizing the "writers" vs. "photographers", so we were encouraged to visit both rooms. To photograph Juno winners, and to be a part of the Q&A sessions following. Wicked.
Fast forward 4 hours, and we headed to a CTV party where he had "red carpet" access to shoot the VIP guests. But, after 45 minutes of shooting in the cold weather and knowing we were’nt going to be invited to the party, we decided to follow up a rumor of a party that was "the" place to be.
We arrived to said party, obviously not on the guest list of this very VIP invite-only party. Duane Storey confidently convinced the manager to add him to the list, and Jeanne and I followed as being "with him", passing on our b5media info to the organizers. From there, we got a media tour of the hotel where the party was hosted, including a birds eye view of the syncronized swimmers. Our "media bracelets" allowed us access to every part of the party, including the VVIP floor and lounges. We had to turn in our SLR’s, but Duane managed to sneak in his point and shoot.
Let’s just say it was fricking amazing to be there. "Fucked right the fuck up", according to Duane. Everywhere you looked you saw Juno nominees and winners. It was ridiculous and exhilirating and amazing. And, very comfortable too. Everyone was having a great time, very relaxed. The VIP floor had a number of "branded" rooms that supplied VVIP guests (us included) to a mountain of free stuff. We were fitted with new Adidas shoes (a blessing, given how sore my feet were), and took our large leather Adidas bag around to collect a bluetooth headset and some bath products. We missed the designer clothes, and did not partake of the free manicures (seriously).
Things for the next 3 hours are just a blur. Going from room to room, talking and listening and taking it all in. It was packed right to capacity. On the VIP floor, my favorite room was the Jam Space. A whole band set-up was there for musicians to come and just play around. Which they did. Whether they were of the same band or not, they made music together. And for the handful of people in the room (from 5 to 30 people), it was an exclusive concert like no other. Duane Storey at one point picked up the guitar and started to play with it. It wasn’t long before he was joined by a drummer and a bassist – and they jammed for a set. Just like that. Duane actually participated in two such sets, with different musicians.
Tomorrow – the Juno Awards. And after-parties. Who knows what those will bring! The hundreds of photos still sitting on my computer will start to see their way onto Flickr tomorrow. Plus, a lot of the news reporting has to make its way to MediaScribbler – in due time. For now, sleep!