The Country Music Association honoured SJM Concerts director Chris York with the 2021 CMA Jo Walker Meador International Award.
York co-founded the UK's Country To Country (C2C) festival in 2013 and has played a pivotal role in the event's media partnership with BBC Radio 2, which helped expand the station's country music coverage.
The award recognises outstanding achievement by an individual in advocating and supporting country music’s marketing development in territories outside the US. York was presented the award via a special video message from artists and industry members in Nashville and the UK.
Chris' impact on country music has enabled artists in every stage of their career to begin building their platforms in the UK and beyond
Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association
“We are thrilled to congratulate Chris on this honour," said CMA chief executive Sarah Trahern. "Chris’ impact on country music has enabled artists in every stage of their career to begin building their platforms in the UK and beyond. His commitment to introducing UK audiences to fresh and new talent each year has helped drive the profile and consumption of country music in the UK at an incredible rate. We are so grateful for Chris’ work across our country music community.”
Following the success of C2C, York also co-developed the C2C Presents brand and co-promoted acts including CMA’s Introducing Nashville during the UK’s annual Country Music Week. York is also a member of the CMA UK Task Force, which works to identify opportunities to increase the profile and opportunities for the genre in the UK.
“While we have thoroughly missed not seeing Chris and being able to travel to the UK over the last two years, we are so pleased to now recognise him for his incredible work in our industry, growing and furthering country music on both sides of the Atlantic,” added CMA VP, international relations and development Milly Olykan. “We send our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to him on this well-deserved honor and for his valuable work on behalf of our genre.”
The CMA International Awards honour industry executives and artists who have supported and made a difference towards the growth and promotion of country music in the international marketplace. Nominees are recognised in six categories acknowledging their dedication and efforts in growing opportunities for country music in their local territories. Additional recipients will be announced in the coming months.
PHOTO: (L-R): Kara McCabe, head of PR, SJM Concerts, Alex Simmonds, promoter, SJM Concerts, York and Caroline Hamer, head of digital,