Tonight, in a star studded gala, The sixth annual Polaris Prize was handed out.  The night featured performances from some of the ten bands that made the Polaris Short List including Austra, Braids, Galaxie, Hey Rosetta!, Ron Sexsmith and Timber Timbre.

When the big moment came, Arcade Fire were announced as the winners of the Polaris Prize.

I can already feel it, you don’t know what The Polaris Prize is do you?

The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours, celebrates and rewards creativity and diversity in Canadian recorded music…and they throw one hell of a party. Past winners include Montreal’s Karkwa (2010) for Les Chemins De Verre, Toronto’s Fucked Up (2009) for The Chemistry Of CommonLife, Dundas’ Caribou (2008), for Andorra, Montreal’s Patrick Watson (2007) for Close To Paradise and Toronto’s Final Fantasy (2006) for He Poos Clouds.

I didn’t really talk about the awards as much as I had in the past few years because it always seemed like Arcade Fire was a sure thing.  I mean they won the Grammy, Brit Award and Juno for The Suburbs for god-sakes, how can they not also win the Polaris prize?  The album is plain and simply perfection, I’m glad it’s gotten the international recognition that it so rightly deserved.

But there’s a problem….

The Polaris Prize came with a cash prize of $30,000.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been a struggling artist in Canada, but I’m guessing that money could have gone a long way for the artists that will never win Grammys or even being invited to Junos…oh who am I kidding, EVERYONE is invited to the Junos.   Obviously Arcade Fire has had an amazing year and while awards like Grammys and Junos don’t come with cash prizes, I’m guessing the residuals of winning big awards like bigger tours, album sales and huge contracts is enough to help the band stay in the black, which maybe can’t be said for the other nine Polaris Short list nominees. I guess I’m sorta stuck on the thought that it would have been nice to see an artist win the $30,000 that would use every penny to put a dent into making their next album.  Given Arcade Fire’s year, that money will likely be gobbled up by agents, managers and lawyers.

So my question is this: Should Arcade Fire have won The Polaris Prize?

I think there’s enough that I could argue both sides until I turned blue, so I’d love to know what you think!

Click here for more information about The Polaris Music prize!

If you want to see the awards yourself, they’ll air on Much on September 24th at 1pm and Midnight.

Mike Morrison


  1. Unless the prize’s mandate is to help a struggling unknown artist, then I think it’s a fair win. The album is superb and happens to be Canadian. It’s great when an award can help finance an album but it obviously shouldn’t be counted on.

  2. The writer of this blog did a similar strange piece on Canadian singer Nikki Yanofsky last year, but went much further into a very personal and hateful attack on her-her fans have protested, but he has refused to remove it-read it for yourself-search this blog for her name. Nikki won a prize Allan Straight award for 10,000.00 which she donated to the organization MusicCounts-promoting music for Canadian high schools-not good enough for MIke-still tore into her. Nikki is doing a benefit in Calgary 9-20-11 -we will see if he tears into her again.

  3. Short answer – yes. The prize is supposed to be awarded to the best album of the year – and it was.

    But just about everyone else on the list could have benefitted more from the recognition and prize which is unfortunate. If the aim of the Polaris prize was promotion of Canadian music then I would be greatly disappointed.

  4. If the Polaris Prize is doing its job, and really being voted on based on artistic merit, then sales and other awards the winner may have received are irrelevant.

    And, like you said, the album is “plain and simply perfection.” So….


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