Colourful row houses, tugboats in the harbour, pitcher plants and crashing waves– there are many iconic images when one thinks of Newfoundland and Labrador but the inspiration for this year’s JUNOs set comes from something much less obvious – icebergs.

“The whole idea of the icebergs is that quite often in the spring St. John’s is visited at the mouth of the bay by these huge icebergs that have flowed down the Atlantic from the Arctic so the whole thing was just like, ‘The icebergs in Spring come to St. John’s, so do the JUNO Awards,'” says set designer Peter Faragher.

Faragher, who began developing the designs for the set in collaboration with producer Louise Wood and lighting designer Alex Nadon last July, has created three huge icebergs that range from 20-30 feet high and 45-60 feet wide that are faceted like diamonds.

Moving images will be projected onto the icebergs, positioned at various different angles, with the same projectors and 3D bitmap technology that was used in the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Vancouver.

As well as being used to support the awards presentations, each performer will also have their own set of images projected on the icebergs to reflect their unique sound and style during their performance.

“Everything is completely different. It’s a completely different way of attacking it,” says Faragher. “There’s never a time when you don’t see a projection (on the icebergs).” 

Fans will also get up close and personal with the JUNO winners as the presentation stage has been moved out into the middle of the arena so the audience can cheer from three sides.

Returning to the Rock: where it all began

Faragher designed his very first JUNOs set back in 2002 when the annual awards show first came to St. John’s, Nfld.

As the JUNOs travelled across the country for the next eight years, so did Faragher, creating innovative sets in each host city and earning three Geminis along the way.

With the JUNOs back in St. John’s, Faragher admits he did feel a bit of extra pressure to create something new and spectacular in the city where it all began.

“Big time. It was like, ‘Ok, well here’s a bunch of stuff we can just throw out because we’ve done this,” says Faragher with a laugh. “Yes, I did feel some extra pressure this time but every city we go in it’s a real challenge not to repeat yourself.”

The first year in St. John’s, which was also the year CTV took over the broadcast of the JUNO Awards, Faragher put an emphasis on the shape of the stage and created an abstract design of the sea and land. This time, the focus is more on the backdrop.

Faragher hopes the public will embrace the new elements and technology used for the JUNOs set, even though he knows some fans will also have other things on their mind. 

“(The set) is just a frame for the music. Really, how many people look at the show and go, ‘That’s a beautiful set?’ They’re looking at Michael Bublé (and saying), ‘Oh my God, he’s so cute,’” says Faragher with a laugh.

The JUNO Awards airs Sunday, April 18th at 8pm ET on CTV. The show will be available for viewing online at on April 19th.