Polaris Prize winners Godspeed You! Black Emperor criticise event organisers

Instrumental rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor have hit out at the organisers of Canada’s coveted Polaris Prize ceremony, a day after winning the award. The Canadian group was honoured for its album Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! during the awards gala in Toronto on Monday (23Sep13), receiving a cheque for $30,000 (£20,000). But the outspoken stars did not attend the prizegiving and have now criticised event bosses for throwing such a costly corporate-sponsored show “during a time of austerity”.
In a statement posted on their website, the members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor claim they are flattered to receive the Polaris Prize, but insist, “organizing a gala just so musicians can compete against each other for a novelty-sized cheque doesn’t serve the cause of righteous music at all”.
The statement continues, “These are hard times for everybody… BUT if the point of this prize and party is acknowledging music-labor performed in the name of something other than quick money, well then maybe the next celebration should happen in a cruddier hall, without the corporate banners and culture overlords.”
The rockers have pledged to donate their prize money to help fund music education programmes for prisoners in Quebec.
The Polaris Prize, the equivalent of Britain’s Mercury Music Prize, is handed out annually to the most influential Canadian album of the previous 12 months. Past winners include Arcade Fire and Feist.