Like its Canadian equivalent the Juno Awards (which are also in Regina next April), Breakout West is a festivalĀ geared to both music insiders and the general public. If you’re a member of the former community, there’s workshops and panel discussions on various aspects of the music industry that you will likely find interesting. If you fall into the latter camp, there’s literally dozens of showcase gigs by musicians from all four western provinces along with the Yukon.

I don’t know what all is going on today — perhaps just registration for delegates and whatnot. Judging by the Breakout West website, the musical side of things gets going on Friday. If you’re in the downtown area, plans call for two kick-off concerts on the stage at City Square Plaza in conjunction with Culture Days. The first goes from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and will feature Regina bands Rah Rah and Jason Plumb & the Willing. The second goes from 5-8 p.m. and will feature Saskatoon band Foam Lake, along with Vancouver’s Said the Whale and some band we here at prairie dog have never heard of before called Library Voices.

From there, the action switches to different clubs in the downtown, Warehouse and Cathedral Districts. The kick-off concerts are free, but to attend the showcase gigs you need to purchase a $20 wrist band. On Saturday, there’s another round of club gigs featuring a different roster of bands that will run from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Then on Sunday there’s a gala at Casino Regina where the Western Canadian Music Awards will be handed out. Again, this is a ticketed event.

For more information visit the Breakout West website. Overall, it should be a great weekend. And be on the lookout for posts by Stephen Whitworth, Mason Pitzel, John Cameron, James Brotheridge and myself both previewing showcase artists andĀ recapping festival highlights.