Wondering from Wadena: The WCMA's

by SaskMusic

August 7, 2009 in Ask Percy

Dear Percy,
I’ve registered for the WCMAs and I’m rarin’ to go. I hear there are must-do and must-attend events at these conferences. Can you shed some light on those little gems where 'everything seems to happen'?
- Wondering from Wadena

Hi WW:

Good question…and it's true, it seems that some of the magic actually happens outside of conference events. This particular conference is one of the best. The programming is top-notch and the people that come here are doing so because they want to do business. However, here is a little glimpse into the fast-running, perhaps harder to find currents of the WCMAs.

Welcome to the Coral
The Thursday night opening reception is not to be missed. Everyone is tickled to the gills (which also are still a happy, healthy shade given that it's the first day of the event) to reconnect with each other. This will give you a chance to scope out who is there for the weekend, connect in person, and plan other meetings for the weekend. It’s a great time to invite folks out to showcases and practice using your little networking fins. Besides, the hors d'oeuvres are fantastic…now, you'll want to stay away from the shrimp and crab, but I hear that the bison meatballs are excellent!

The Cave
Otherwise known as the hotel lounge. If you want to see the “who’s who,” there is a pretty good chance that you will find them in the lounge…kinda like sea urchins...beautiful to look at, and permanently stuck there. Often, they have so many people to meet with that it’s just the easiest place to conduct all their business. Plan to spend a fair amount of time in lobbies and lounges…a lot of fins have been shaken over a stirred martini.

No Tuna, Please
Each year the music industry association of the host province throws a fantastic little event where all the VIPs are treated to a unique night of regional culture and culinary delights. If you happen to receive an invite to this event, don’t pass it up. The VIPs loosen their gills and it is one of the most perfect times to start up a friendship that will last for years to come. Of course, there are various other little private parties being thrown throughout the weekend, along with hotel room jam sessions and spontaneous-types bursting into song in the hallway. Keep an ear out for these as well.

International Waters
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada provides a spectacular opportunity…kind of like the speed-mating…oops…speed-dating of international business. It allows you to book one-on-one meetings with the international delegates to chat and make your pitches. DFAIT also generously offers a pitching workshop to help you prepare for your meetings. Make sure you are export-ready, have your package in-fin, and cross over into international waters.

Calling Nocturnal Fish
The post-award show parties are a must for all attendees. Everyone is swimming high, and wanting to chat and relax after an intense weekend. Take this opportunity to celebrate with friends, and cement those new relationships. But beware – this one is truly for the night fish. Your evening may involve a baby grand piano being moved two floors up, and a group sing-along that echoed over several floors until the beer supply ran out…which was good, because it was 5 am.

Have fun - Get out there - and experience as much as you can throughout the weekend.

Originally published Autumn 2007.

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