Sickly Loonie Hurting Canadian Music Festivals

Here in the West (and in many other parts of the world), the universal currency of the concert industry is the US dollar. All transactions are negotiated and settled in greenbacks. This can make things difficult in countries when the US buck is strong.

Canadian promoters hate it when the loonie is weak. Add in the fierce competition for acts when it comes to booking festivals–something that’s been driving up prices since CD sales cratered–things get ugly.

Two Canadian festivals have already disappeared from the calendar this summer. The Squamish Valley Music Festival, which attracted 115,000 people in 2015, has been cancelled. No official reason has been given, but the low loonie couldn’t have helped.

Then there’s the Big Music Fest in Kitchener, which just a couple of years ago featured Jane’s Addiction and Soundgarden, has been cancelled again. Last year’s event–Rod Stewart and Blondie were booked–was also blown out.

The official reason for BMF’s cancellation this year is the organizers’ inability to book “a line-up of world-class performers.” That can be interpreted in many ways, but again, the situation with the loonie must have factored in somehow.

Will there be any more cancellations/postponements to come? We’ll see.

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.

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