Music Industry

How Many Taxpayers Does It Take to Fund a Music Festival?

Canadian artists are quite blessed.  Because we live next door to the largest exporter of popular culture in the known universe, we as a nation have to work very hard to make sure we’re not subsumed into ‘Murica’s idea of good art. This is why we have such things as CanCon rules, FACTOR, VideoFACT, Starmaker, Canadian Content Development funds from broadcasters, tangible benefits payments and a long list of grants, loans, bursaries and other financial instruments that help Canadian musical artists survive and thrive.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard foreign musicians, upon hearing how generous Canada is to artists, say “I’m moving to Canada.”

But things aren’t perfect.  In fact, things can get a little weird.  Take, for example, this situation with the Beaches International Jazz Festival in Toronto vs. a festival put on by Drake.  Something’s wrong here.  This is from FYI Music News:

The Beaches International Jazz Festival, the largest free event of its kind on the continent just got shafted, losing its annual $75K provincial grant. That’s about 20% of the longstanding summer fun’s annual budget. Last year’s attendance at the Queen St. East’s two-week run totalled close to a half-million people.Cost cutting by budget-minded bureaucrats?

Not quite.

From the same budget, Drake’s annual hometown music festival is receiving a generous helping of taxpayers dollars this summer in the amount of $300K, the same amount the Stratford Festival, the Canadian Tulip Festival, RBC’s Ottawa Bluesfest, and NXNE’s Dundas Square freebie receive (which, surely, isn’t why Now magazine so enthusiastically defends Drizzy’s lucrative pay packet)

Hmm.  Keep reading.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38061 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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