The Manitoba Loud Music Awards rock downtown Winnipeg

Inaugural event organized by all-local team

Photo provided by Badlands Promotions

The Bulldog Event Centre hosted the first ever Manitoba Loud Music Awards (MLMAs) to great success over the weekend of Nov. 19 to 21.

Organized by Badlands Promotions of Portage la Prairie, Man. and Frozen Fire Studios, the awards ceremonies were accompanied by live performances from Manitoban bands in the loud music genres with three bands performing each night.

Overall, 17 awards — sponsored by Brazen Brewing Company — were given to prominent members of the local loud music scene. Votov received the award for Metal Album of the Year, Maiden Manitoba went home with the award for Tribute Band of the Year and Paige Drobot was honoured with the award for Guitarist of the Year, just to name just a few.

The MLMAs were created by Badlands Promotions founder Dag Aymont, who said the awards ceremony has “been kicking around for about four or five years in my head.”

“Last year, I had mentioned it to my Winnipeg promoter and he had said he was totally down to help out and we’d started organizing it, but then [COVID-19] had shut it down,” he said.

“This year in January, we said we were doing it one way or another.”

The MLMAs are based on an entirely fan-based nomination and voting system.

“The fans made the nominations and as long as the band accepted or the artist accepted, then they made the nomination list […] as far as who wins, it was all voted on the website over the month of September,” Aymont said.

Aymont also discussed the MLMAs’ goals and his personal connections to Manitoba’s loud music scene.

“I grew up in the music scenes, I grew up in a musical home and I’ve been surrounded by musicians my entire life,” he said.

“I’m a musician myself and I just always noticed that the heavier music scene doesn’t get a lot of recognition. We wanted to recognize all the hard-working musicians in our form of genre.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic continued to be one of the biggest hurdles Aymont and his team faced while planning the MLMAs, it wasn’t the only one.

“I’ve been a promoter for years, Badlands Promotions has been running since 2015 and we’ve never done an event like this,” Aymont said.

“So, it’s been all new, putting together a committee and having each person’s individual input and kind of working together on it to make it roll properly.”

Another challenge Aymont faced was finding media outlets that covered and supported loud music genres in general.

Although organizing the MLMAs was not without its difficulties, Aymont mentioned the support they’ve received from musicians, fans and those who helped put the events together has been the highlight of the MLMAs for him.

“[Winnipeg promoter] Tommy [Suver] and I built this committee of people, amazing people who have gone above and beyond to help run this smoothly,” Aymont said.

“It’s also a big celebration for everybody involved — the bands, the musicians, us, the sponsors, everybody.”

As for the future, while Aymont and the rest of the Badlands Promotions team plan on holding the MLMAs annually, the awards ceremonies may look different year to year — the largest of these changes would likely be a drop from a three-night agenda to just one night based on the amount of awards presented each year.

“We won’t have a lot of the awards in future years that we have this year, just because […] how many albums are going to release [in Manitoba] over the next year as opposed to the last three? […] We won’t have rock album, hardcore album, punk album, metal album because there’s probably only going to be four or five albums released.”

“We just hope to grow this and do this every year and support our musicians, whether they’ve been in it for six months or 10 years or 20 years,” said Aymont.

“I really wanted these people to feel appreciated and honoured.”