Loft Ent., Oak View Group Acquire Canadian Music Week, Neill Dixon To Retire

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Loft Entertainment, a Canadian entertainment company helmed by industry veteran Randy Lennox, and Oak View Group, the venue development, management and hospitality company led by Tim Leiweke, today announced the joint acquisition of Canadian Music Week, Canada’s leading industry conference and music festival.

Canadian Music Week, which runs this week (June 1-8) in Toronto, is led by founder and president Neill Dixon, who also announced today he is retiring from CMW after helming the conference for 42 years.

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“It’s been an incredible journey to see Canadian Music Week grow from a small gathering of music lovers to one of the most influential music festivals and conferences in the world,” Dixon (left) said in a statement. “I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished and deeply grateful to everyone who has been part of this journey. As I step aside and retire, I am confident that CMW is in excellent hands with Loft Entertainment and Oak View Group. Their passion, vision, and resources will ensure that CMW continues to thrive and evolve. I look forward to seeing the festival reach new heights under their leadership.”

Canadian Music Week will continue to be headquartered in Toronto, with dates and details for the 2025 festival forthcoming.

Loft Entertainment founder Randy Lennox, who formerly ran Universal Music Group Canada and Bell Media, expressed his enthusiasm for the acquisition: “We are incredibly proud to bring Canadian Music Week into the Loft Entertainment Media family in partnership with Oak View Group,” he stated. “CMW has a rich history of championing music and artists, and we are committed to building on that legacy. Our vision is to enhance the festival experience, creating new opportunities for artists and attendees alike, while maintaining the core values that have made CMW a beloved event.

He also payed homage to its retiring founder. “As Neill Dixon steps into a well-deserved retirement, we honour his remarkable dedication to making CMW the influential event it is today. His vision has set a high standard that we are eager to uphold and expand upon.”

Tom Pistore, President of OVG, echoed Lennox’s sentiments, adding, “Oak View Group is delighted to expand our investment in the Canadian market and partner with Loft Entertainment in acquiring Canadian Music Week. This acquisition, along with our Hamilton Arena Project (which recently broke ground), aligns perfectly with our mission to elevate live entertainment experiences across the globe. We look forward to leveraging our expertise in venue management and conferences to take CMW to new heights. Together, we aim to deliver an unforgettable experience that celebrates the vibrant music culture of Canada and beyond.”

To that end, Loft Entertainment and Oak View Group (Pollstar’s parent company) plan to “expand programming, enhance venues, and offer unique engagement opportunities for artists and fans” so that CMW remains a “cornerstone event in the global music industry.” At the same time, both entities are “committed to preserving the festival’s heritage while introducing fresh, dynamic elements that reflect the evolving music landscape.”

Oak View Group, owns Pollstar and produces Pollstar Live! and Pollstar Awards, which last February celebrated its 35th edition at L.A.’s Wiltern Theatre. OVG also owns sister publication VenuesNow, the premier venue trade publication, which this year will host its annual VenuesNow Conference in Phoenix Oct. 15-16.

In an interview with Pollstar last week, Canadian Music Week festival director and GM, Andrew Valle, said this year’s CMW expects some 3,000 delegates to attend along with over 300 performing artists at 25 venues. Execs being honored at CMW this year include IAG’s Marsha Vlassic and manager Jake Gold along with Deadmau5 who is being inducted into the CMW Hall of Fame. Among this year’s panelists are top executives at Spotify, Tiktok and the Recording Academy; the singer of Papa Roach Jacoby Shaddix; and Maple Leafs’ goalie Joseph Woll. CMW also includes Live Music Awards and the Jim Beam Indies Awards.

“Joining forces with Oak View Group to acquire Canadian Music Week is a momentous occasion for us at Loft Entertainment,” added Jackie Dean, COO of Loft Ent., in a statement. “Randy Lennox’s dedication to preserving and enhancing CMW’s legacy, coupled with Tom Pistore’s vision for leveraging OVG’s vast experience in venue management, brand partnerships and conferences, sets the stage for an extraordinary future.”

Alongside Loft Entertainment, OVG stated it is “deeply committed to investing in Canada [and] has been active in the market for over two years, forming strategic partnerships with prominent brands, including Canada Basketball, Great Canadian Gaming, McCain, GFL, Sports Interaction, ADP, and Diageo.”

OVG has invested over $5 billion in the development of new and reimagined venues across the globe, with their first local project being the FirstOntario Centre arena renovation.