A longish list of cis and trans women, trans men, and non binary artists and bands

    When we talk about the idea of gender representation at festivals, bookers often say they “just can’t find” bands or artists, that “there aren’t enough women/trans/non-binary artists,” that they’ve “tried but it’s reeeeeeally hard.” These comments make those bookers look out-of-touch and bad at their job, but we figure that having a database of artists or bands made up of trans and cis women, trans men, and non-binary artists might be helpful, especially to bookers who are looking to improve their lineups and aren’t looking for excuses. So it took us a while, but finally it’s here! Secret Frequency Database of Cis and Trans Women, Trans Men, and Non-Binary artists…

  • Artists,  Big Ideas,  Canadian Festival Report Card

    A short list of women and gender non-conforming Canadian artists

    ETA: Because this is awesome, we’re creating an accessible database for Trans folks, Non-Gender-Binary folks, and Women to add themselves and/or their bands so that bookers can find them.  We launched it in Winter 2020; you can check it out here (and also add yourself or your band!).  All of the artists in this short list are also in the database! ETA 2: When this post was originally published in Spring 2018 on our old website, it generated 138 replies from members of the community, listing more than 600 artists and bands.  We’ve collected this information in the database above, and are looking for volunteer to help flesh out the…

    Articles,  Big Ideas


    From a piece I wrote for Electric City Magazine: “The Canadian music industry is a diverse, varied place, but you wouldn’t know it from the endless parade of white guys with guitars wanking across the festival stages and conference panels of the nation. Over the past month, NXNE have been releasing the lineup for their Portlands festival, and the list, while appearing more racially diverse with the most recent release, is still very dude-heavy. With three women-fronted bands and one genderqueer artist out of 16 total acts released so far, I have to ask: where the fuck are the women, NorthBy?” Read the rest at Electric City Magazine.

  • Some thoughts about - and a good, green idea for - Music Submissions
    Articles,  Band Advice,  Big Ideas,  Events

    Some thoughts about – and a good, green idea for – Music Submissions

    There was a time, 15 years ago, when the wealth of CDs that suddenly started coming my way, as a full-time booker at a dive bar, was exciting and fun. Opening packages mailed from across the country was exciting – who knew what fabulous undiscovered gem was lurking inside that yellow padded envelope? Now I find myself looking at CDs – or any physical media music submissions – with a sense of weariness. The thrill of discovery is still strong, but it’s sometimes overwhelmed by the knowledge that every CD and paper package represents a use of resources that isn’t very smart or justifiable. I know there are some bookers/DJs/industry…

  • Articles,  Big Ideas,  Events,  Ontario

    Music City – A strategy

    The points I’ve included below – headlined ‘A Strategy for Music Peterborough‘ – was created with my hometown in mind, but swap out a few names and organizations and this would be useful in any city to frame the way you approach different sectors with a view to creating a cohesive push to highlight music (or, I think, almost any local art or cultural highlight) and create a Music City mentality. I’ve made a few edits from the original document to make explicit the sort of things that I take as a given, but which aren’t obvious to everyone (like gender parity, inclusion of racialized people, good working conditions, etc.). A…

  • On not getting gigs or grants - ChocQuibTown at The Distillery District
    Articles,  Band Advice

    On not getting gigs or grants.

    The work I do means saying “No” a lot more than “Yes.” Whether I’m working as a booker or jurying a grant or award, the ability to say no clearly, politely, and unequivocally is one of the most valuable skills I’ve developed. As AD of the Peterborough Folk Festival, I’d generally get about 700-1000 submissions from musical acts, and I’d have 25 or so slots to fill.  At minimum, I’d be listening, evaluating, and saying “No” 675 times to hopeful artists who’d poured their time, energy, sweat, and cash into their work.  The jury for Artsweek Peterborough ((A festival which I saved from certain death, restructured, and ran for 2 years.)) got…

  • Secret Frequency
    Articles,  Band Advice,  Events

    What goes in an EPK?

    It’s Autumn, the time of year when an artist’s thoughts turn to next Summer’s gigs.  You’ve come off the road for the year, and you want to make sure that the promotional material that you’re putting out there is working for you.  And you’re thinking of creating – or re-assessing – an EPK. An Electronic Press Kit is a page on your website that provides resources for bookers, media, and technicians.  My theory is that a website, overall, is for personal interaction with fans, but the EPK page on your website is for your professional interactions. It’s for someone in a hurry who sees literally thousands of band sites and just wants…

  • My Rules - The Boxcar Boys
    Articles,  Big Ideas

    My Rules

    I’ve been a music booker for a while now, ((People have even paid me to do it at places like The Montreal House, The Peterborough Folk Festival, Harbourfront Centre, and The Distillery Historic District.))  and over the years I’ve developed some guiding practices that govern most of what I do – something I think of as my rules for booking. I tend to stick to these rules because they work, and because whenever I’m unsure, I’ve got them to point to true north. Other bookers are their own people, and I neither expect that they’d adhere to this exact set of ideas nor do I think any of these are…

  • Fuck Instrument Thieves - Hug_a_Guitar_by_MyCameraIsSuicidal

    Fuck Instrument Thieves

    A lot of my friends and acquaintances are musicians, and so fairly regularly I see notices crop up on forums and social media about stolen musical instruments.  Every damn time, it makes my blood boil. Any performance-level instrument is worth a few hundred dollars, at the very least – most a lot more than that.  Depending on quality, age, and customization, they can be worth much more – easily thousands of dollars.  So I understand why it’s tempting for the sticky-fingered, desperate, or unethical person to grab a guitar and go, heading to Craigslist or shady pawnshops to offload their ill-gotten beauties. ((I’ll admit sympathy for some thieves, based purely…

  • Ozere
    Artists,  Ontario

    Artist Spotlight: Ozere

    For the duration of my life, guitars have driven almost all of the music around me.  Whether they be sensitive strummers or wailing rock gods, they’ve been sort-of inescapable.  And as I’ve moved through different jobs as a music booker, I’ve found my ears got kind-of worn-out on the guitar; even great players rarely catch my interest.  It often feels like the possibilities of the guitar have been explored, past the comfort of familiarity and straight on to dull repetition, especially in the Folk community. ((Sorry, dudes, it’s just… y’know. I still love a lot of guitar-playing acts; it just rarely gets me all excited to hear a new guitar-based…