• Artists,  Ontario

    Artist Spotlight: SATE

    Combining blistering hard rock with gritty blues, SATE is an artist who it’s impossible to ignore. Her music leaves you exhausted but leaves a fire burning in your soul that wasn’t there before. Toronto’s NOW Magazine described her as having “a tornado of a stage presence,” while Lithium’s live reviewer proclaimed, “I can tell you sincerely that she is one of the most resounding artists I’ve heard.” When each show inevitably reaches its climax with the indelible image of SATE, fist in the air, and an entire audience raising its hands in unity, the full spectrum of human emotions—anger, joy, vulnerability—suddenly comes into sharp focus through the music. SATE has…

  • Laila Biali
    Artists,  Ontario

    Artist Spotlight: Laila Biali

    Multi award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and pianist Laila Biali has toured with Chris Botti, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega and Sting. She has headlined festivals and venues spanning five continents including Carnegie Hall. Her accolades include a 2019 JUNO Award for “Vocal Jazz Album of the Year”, “SOCAN Composer of the Year” and “Keyboardist of the Year” at Canada’s National Jazz Awards, a JUNO nomination for her studio recording Tracing Light, and a spot on DownBeat Magazine’s “Best Albums of the Year” list for her follow-up Live in Concert. In 2015, Laila released her first album of entirely original music, House of Many Rooms – an indie-pop project featuring a star-studded lineup…

  • MarieLynnHammond-photo-by-Kate-Morgan-Images-300x195
    Canadian Festival Report Card,  Uncategorized

    2016 Canadian Festival Report Card

    For the past twenty years, the music industry has seen its stages dominated by men in most genres and scenes.  With the exceptions of the occasional women-focused festivals, like Lilith Fair, women have tended to see very little representation on stages, and nowhere is that more noticeable than at a festival, where sometimes hours can pass before a woman, a racialized person, or a member of the LGBTQ community walks on stage as a member of a band. With that in mind, we’ve been tallying up the numbers, and are presenting them below. This list is presented in the spirit of information-sharing – often, bookers and Artistic Directors don’t realize…

    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.

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Band Advice,  Events,  Ontario

    Folk Music Ontario Conference

    The Folk Music Ontario Conference ((Formerly the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals!)) is an annual event that draws just under a thousand artists, presenters, and other music industry people to hang out together, jamming, learning, and talking music for four days every October.  It’s always a highlight of the year, a chance for bookers, promoters, writers, and DJs to hear some of the best emerging touring acts in one place over one weekend in one hotel. This year, the conference takes place in Mississauga, Ontario. Secret Frequency founder and writer Candace Shaw will be in all of her usual haunts at the conference – wherever there’s good music or good…