Manitobans won big at the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards and Breakout West Festival Sunday night.
Romi Mayes won Songwriter of the Year for the third time. And fellow Winnipegger Del Barber took home two awards – Best Roots Solo Recording and Independent Album of the year.
Barber said he was pretty scared to step on the stage in Whitehorse.
"I didn't prepare anything to say, and I was nervous and worried but I think it went OK," said Barber.
He added that the awards are tough since he's competing against friends. But he said the show always feels like a big family getting together.
"I feel really comfortable here compared to, like, Junos in Toronto," he said. "It feels a lot more down-home in the Yukon, it makes a lot of sense. The whole weekend has been a feeling of like, rootedness in people. And then also all the venues are packed, it feels like people really want to be here and a lot times at these awards things I don't get that sense."
Musician Jolene Higgins, known on stage as Little Miss Higgins, agreed.
"We've been traveling across Canada for quite a while and … sometimes crowds can be a little reserved at times but we found up here was awesome," said Higgins.
Winnipeg's Don Amero took home the Aboriginal Recording award and Paquin Entertainment Agency won for Best Agency of the Year.
Three Yukoners, Kim Beggs, Roots Solo Recording and Multi-Media Award, Matthew Lien, for World Recording and Magnum Opus Management for Best Agency, were nominated for awards but didn’t win.
Whitehorse's Caribou Records was presented the Heritage Award presented to someone from the host jurisdiction who has made a lasting impact on the western Canadian music scene.
Vancouver's The Sojourners won the Contemporary Christian/Gospel Recording category. Edmonton's Souljah Fyah reggae group won for the Urban Recording of the Year category.
Debbie Peters of Magnum Opus Management, helped organize the event. She says it was a great opportunity for Yukon artists to meet with other musicians and industry professionals.
“Wow, I can hardly wait ‘til a year from now to sort of look at what’s sort of been the residual stuff that’s come out of this event. I think it’s going to be significant,” said Peters.
CBC Radio 3's Grant Lawrence hosted the sold-out show at the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse. This was the first time the awards ceremony was held north of 60. Next year’s awards will be in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The event has been held since 2003 to honour the recording industries of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon.