History

Unite the music community in a celebration of their own brightest stars.

It was a simple wish to award London’s musicians. It grew from the initial London Music Awards in May 2002 at Club Phoenix to a week of recognition, appreciation, mentorship and performances. Canada’s only city-specific Music Hall of Fame preserves the rich musical heritage. More than 300 volunteers have contributed to the realization of that early dream.

Forest City London Music Awards

The team of volunteers includes the Board of Directors, a Steering Committee and innumerable people at events and behind the scenes who provide time and expertise. They work throughout the year to present a week of activities that support, honour and promote the region’s music legends, popular artists, emerging musicians and the industry that creates the soundtrack of the city.

Early history

2002   London Music Awards first event

2005   Re-branded as The Jack Richardson Music Awards.

Jack was honoured to lend his name and his philosophy about nurturing Canadian talent, which was mirrored by the goals of the awards program and the mission of the not-for-profit organization. Jack Richardson (1929-2011) was the first Hall of Fame inductee under the new banner in 2005. His induction recognized the long-time Londoner and legendary Canadian record producer’s role in encouraging excellence in the local music scene, his advocacy for education in the field as a Fanshawe College professor. funding chair Mario Circelli was a co-founder of the London Music Awards before he helped create the JRLMA. John B. Young was a co-chair along with Circelli before taking the helm. Grant Stein has also served as Board Chair. In the early days, Circelli and the volunteer group began inducting worthy musicians into the London Music Hall of Fame (virtual at first) and the annual Lifetime Achievement Award (formerly the Dennis Brown Award) which honours a commitment to music above all else in a career.

Hall of Fame

Inductions over the years have represented the diverse talent nurtured in London:

  • The Amabile Choirs of London
  • metal stars Kittie
  • Garth Hudson (The Band)
  • Joey Hollingsworth
  • Phil Murphy
  • Orchestra London
  • dance band leaders Alf Tibbs and Johnny Downs

Memorable moments:

  • 1970s rock band Thundermug reuniting for the 2006 ceremony
  • Canada’s Country Gentleman Tommy Hunter accepting an on-stage honour at his farewell concert at the RBC Theatre at Budweiser Gardens (then the John Labatt Centre) in 2012

They join previous inductees in the ‘virtual’ hall on our website and in our physical London Music Hall of Fame on Dundas, thanks to the generosity of Mike Manuel and the Manuel family. The London Music Hall of Fame is curated by the FCLMA and is Canada’s only city specific music hall of fame. 

Both Hall of Fame inductees and Lifetime Achievement honorees are determined each year by the Steering Committee and Board according to criteria and a process that start with public nominations.

The Lifetime Achievement award is handed out at the gala. Past recipients include:

  • jazz pianist John Noubarian
  • London Kiwanis Music festival organizer and administrator Charlotte Cleland
  • famed promoter/manager Saul Holiff
  • Canadian choral leader John Barron

The Awards Gala

Come for the awards – stay for the music. Two galas at each end of Music Week recognize local talent as nominated and voted on by the public in 28 categories – country to classical, pop to punk, including those for Contributor, Fan Favourite, Producer/Engineer and Music Video of the Year. Live performances at the event bring scores of London-area musicians to the gala stage.

Memorable moments:

  • London-tied artists as punk rockers Sheep Look Up
  • honky-tonk heroes The Rizdales
  • Juno-winning hip-hop artist Shad
  • singer-songwriter Basia Bulat
  • rock band Hue with guest violinist Mary-Elizabeth Brown
  • Garth Hudson soloing at the keyboard

The musicians are paid for their performances through the support of generous sponsors.

Seminars, free for all levels of experience, skills and knowledge, are a key component of the London Music Awards. Top producers and engineers, performers and off-stage contributors share their expertise with emerging and established artists, offering everything from an assessment of a recording to booking tips.

The Youth Award was established to encourage and support high school bands. Winners are determined at the dynamic Highschool Battle of the Bands with meaningful opportunities for development provided.

The Ken Palmer Bursary is awarded to a graduating high school student pursuing music education at a post-secondary level in Ontario. The award honours the late Ken Palmer, who was an integral part of the London music scene for more than 40 years as a performer with the Dixie Flyers, Artistic Director of the Home County Music & Art Festival and a music teacher.

The last five years

On November 12, 2016 the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame officially opened to the public at 182 Dundas Street (former Nash Jewellers location) with a special concert featuring Garth Hudson of The Band, Priscilla Wright and Denise Pelley. The physical location for the Hall of Fame was an original goal of the board, along with holding a week-long celebration of local music. In 2017 the organization launched the inaugural London Music Week, bringing together all of these special events and many performances highlighting local artists and venues. 

The FCLMA curates Canada’s only city-specific music week – FC – London Music Week.

In the summer of 2018, the not-for-profit organization returned to its roots and its initial wish to unite the community in celebration of its music-makers. The name Forest City London Music Awards reflected this re-focus. The goals to Preserve, Celebrate, Encourage and Support continue to be the pillars of the organization.

The future

The Forest City London Music Awards, is grateful for the support of the London and area communities as we work together to:

  • recognize the area’s musicians and music industry
  • foster excellence and education
  • preserve our music history
  • nurture the music yet to come

The FCLMA is proud to acknowledge that the land on which we gather for our events is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendt, Attawandaron and Lenape Indigenous peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties, including Treaty 6, the London Township Treaty.

X