The 2019 Canadian Festival Report Card is here!

Canadian Festival Report Card: 2019 Highlights

  • 54 festivals were graded at an ‘A,’ down from 57 in 2018 (booooo)
  • 116 festivals were graded
  • Every province and territory in Canada is represented in this report card, for the third year in a row. However, many of the provinces/territories only have a few festivals listed, and we need to work in future to increase the numbers of festivals graded.
  • As a group, these 116 festivals get an ‘A’ grade, booking 46% women-identifying or non-binary artists (up from 43% women-identifying or non-binary artists in 2018) This is a heartening result, as it means that overall, more festivals were booking women and non-binary people in 2019 than they were in 2018.
  • The festivals graded this year booked 1554 artists or bands that were fronted by women or non-binary people in 2019; though some of those will be duplicates, it’s still great to see

View the 2019 Canadian Festival Report Card here (this will open in a new window as a Google Sheet)
The Canada-wide results are on the first tab, with a breakout for each province or territory on separate tabs. Each festival lists its current grade, as well as its grades for 2018 and 2017 where available, the city and province that the festival takes place in, and a link to the festival website.
Festivals in grey have either been cancelled/postponed for 2019 or have had their last year in 2019.
We weren’t able to find the official lineups for the 2019 Shivering Songs or Canadian Music Week; our apologies.

The overall results this year are okay; there’s been some backsliding. This may be because the conversation has cooled off in the past year or two, which means we need to push harder and bring it to the fore again in 2020.

If you’d like to submit a festival for inclusion in the 2020 Canadian Festival Report Card, you can click here to submit via our 2020 form.

As always we note that women and non-binary people aren’t getting headlining slots; racialized and LGBTQ artists aren’t being booked at the rates they deserve – there is more than enough talent, skill, and draw in under-represented groups to find plenty of headliners and artists in general. We also strongly suspect that women, racialized people, and LGBTQ people aren’t getting paid equally in comparison to their white, straight, Cis, male peers, regardless of draw, skill, or talent. And there’s a lot of work to be done in the realms of conferences, booking agencies, awards and showcases highlighting and promoting women, LGBTQ, and racialized artists. We aren’t speaking of ‘under-represented group in music’ showcases, which can be great, but also serve to isolate under-represented groups.

Getting an A on this report card represents a small achievement; we believe you can do so much better, and that bringing new and different voices to your stages will make your festival better.

If you’re interested in talking to Executive Director Candace Shaw about this year’s Report Card, you can contact her at [email protected]
If you just want to tell her that you ‘tried really hard’ to book more women (a common refrain from bookers with low marks), let’s save everyone some time: she says “Try Harder.”

If you object in principle to this report card, okay.  No need to email about it.  We’ve heard all of the arguments and they are not compelling or logical.

If you’d like to submit a festival for inclusion in the 2020 Canadian Festival Report Card, you can click here to submit via our 2020 form.

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