Manitoulin Country Fest co-founder is nominated for Industry Person of the Year

KT Timmermans takes a moment out from working on the radio station’s new offices to chat about her nomination as the Country Music Association of Ontario’s Industry Person of the Year. photo by Michael Erskine

TORONTO – Manitoulin Country Fest has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, facing down many challenges while leaping supposedly insurmountable obstacles with deceptive ease thanks in large part to the seemingly boundless energy of its founders—particularly Kelly Timmermans, better known by her nickname KT. In recognition of her efforts in promoting country music across the province, Ms. Timmermans has been nominated for the Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO)’s Industry Person of the Year.

“I feel super humbled,” smiled Ms. Timmermans when The Expositor caught up with her, caulking gun in hand, at the construction site for the new Country 103 offices located at the Manitoulin Country Fest Grounds on Harbour View Road in Little Current. “I know it sounds so much like a cliché, but it is very true.”

Ms. Timmermans is no stranger to award ceremonies; she has been nominated for CMAO awards on numerous occasions, and the radio station she also founded with her husband Craig, CHAW 103, is once again up for Radio Station of the Year (small market).

Although she is honoured to be nominated for the Industry Person of the Year, Ms. Timmermans points out that she finds herself in some incredibly awe-inspiring company among the five nominees for the honour.

Also nominated are Dave Woods, In the Country; Johnathan Smalley, Rock N Horse; Ron Kitchener, RGK Entertainment; and Shannon Ella, Pure Country/Complete Country.

“It’s a wide category and the nominees are an amazing group of people, it’s a huge honour to be grouped with these incredible people who have done so much for the country music industry,” said Ms. Timmermans. She noted that there are three ballots to select the winner. “I knew I was on the second ballot,” she said, “but I only found out I was on the third ballot when the press release came out. I don’t have a lot of expectations; these are a lot of great people. I am just so happy and amazed to be thought of as part of the group.”

The Country Music Association of Ontario’s eighth annual awards ceremony has been postponed until Sunday, October 4 and will be held at the Centennial Hall in London. 

Leading the artist nominations are 12-time CMAO award winner Meghan Patrick and two time winners The Reklaws, each with six nominations.

The awards, hosted by Jason McCoy and Jennifer Campbell, will celebrate the talent and achievements of Ontario’s country music industry across 19 categories, including the Impact Award, Nielsen Compass Award, and the Holly and Steve Kassay Generous Spirit Award.

“I love my job,” said Ms. Timmermans. “That’s one of the things that is so awesome about being nominated—it’s for something that I really love doing.”

Although many festivals and concerts slated for the summer have announced cancellations or postponements, Manitoulin Country Fest has still not taken that step. “Contractually we can’t do that until we are forced to, and that word has not come down yet,” she said. In the meantime, the couple have plenty to do in getting their new off-grid offices up and running. That’s a good thing during this time of social distancing, she admits.

“Neither Craig or I do sedentary well,” she laughs as she picks up her caulking gun and takes aim at a drywall joint. “There’s no moss growing on our North sides.”