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The Toronto Blues Society board of directors is pleased to announce Calgary’s Cindy McLeod as the winner of the newly renamed John Valenteyn Blues Booster of the Year award, a very special Maple Blues Award honouring outstanding contribution to the Canadian blues music industry. The esteemed award has been renamed in honour of the late John Valenteyn, a co-founder of the Toronto Blues Society, long-time radio DJ, and dedicated volunteer.

“Every city needs a leadership figure like Cindy McLeod to keep the flames of music strong. Cindy’s personal passion for the Calgary Blues Festival and projects related is an inspiration for all and makes her a deserving recipient of the annual Blues Booster honour”, says Derek Andrews, President of the Toronto Blues Society.

A “Jill of all trades”, McLeod is a founder of the Calgary Blues Music Association (CBMA) as well as the Calgary International Blues Festival and the Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest, Cindy acts as Producer and Artistic Director for the organization and has been instrumental in creating what has become one of the largest blues music festivals in Western Canada.

A recognized leader in Canadian music, she has been asked to sit on multiple juries for the Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA), Eastern Canadian Music Awards (ECMA), PEI Awards, JUNO, Harvard, FACTOR, the International Blues Challenge/Edmonton, and the Mayor’s Arts Awards, and has sat on various boards including Calgary Blues Music Association, Jazz Is Society of Alberta, JazzYYC, the Alberta Music Industry Association, PAL Calgary and the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta. Cindy received the 2019 Industry Person of the Year Award for Calgary’s YYC Music Awards. She is also the host of The Blues Witness radio program, which can be heard weekly on CJSW Radio 90.9FM in Calgary and online.

On receiving the news McLeod remarked “It is a great honour to be a part of the blues community in Canada. It is humbling to be acknowledged with this award. With some of the finest talent on the planet, loyal and dedicated fans, and volunteers that are like one big family, it is a privilege to be a part of it all. May 2021 bring us all together again to gather at festivals and venues across the nation to celebrate the gifts we have in blues!”

The 24th annual Maple Blues Awards are going virtual in 2021, with the winners being announced and streamed from four different cities with local performers and hosts from Toronto (February 1), Ottawa (February 8), Montreal (February 15), and Vancouver (February 22).


Check out our new Calgary Bluesfest Channel, CBTV! Watch live streams of our events and view the extensive library of blues performances. New content added regularly! Subscribe for an entire year for only $60, or select as many songs as you like and create your own concert! EVERY TIME A SUBSCRIPTION OR SONG IS PURCHASED, […]