December 7th, 2016
The inaugural edition of Folk Music Canada’s new export showcase event,FolkNorth, wrapped on Saturday with much praise and positive feedback from industry, international export delegates and showcasing artists.

Spanning four days, the event included 35 export delegates, 25 domestic industry participants and 25 showcasing artists. “As a young organization, we were trying to bring a new style of industry event to life. Our overarching goal was to create deeper business relationships by designing FolkNorth to be a smaller-scale, summit-style gathering, with a limited number of curated showcases. The emphasis was on matchmaking, peer to peer exchange and deep value  We’ve achieved our targets, and we’re excited to see what the next chapter holds,” said Tamara Kater, Executive Director of Folk Music Canada.

FolkNorth Showcasing Artist Matthew Byrne of St. John’s Newfoundland

Participating export delegates came from the United States, the United Kingdom and Denmark as focus markets. The event also included Canadian festival buyers to encourage industry development across borders and open channels to future block booking and cross-programming opportunities. To reflect the international element of FolkNorth, showcase programming included artists from the United States and England. All artists and delegates took part in more than 500 B2B meetings, each scheduled in advance of the event.

The hub of FolkNorth was the Toronto Sheraton Centre, where delegates stayed and took part in meetings. Export showcases took place in various venues throughout the event, including Adelaide Hall,  the Church of the Holy Trinity and Hugh’s Room. For a complete list of showcasing artists, click here.

While full evaluation is still underway, initial feedback from both artists and buyer-delegates is positive.  Justin Nordell of the Philadelphia Folksong Societysaid: “I cannot thank Folk Music Canada enough for what was the most overall rewarding and enriching music event that I’ve been to in ages. Your staff and board outdid themselves ensuring a wonderful experience for delegates, agents, and musicians alike. I cannot wait to see the event grow year over year from the phenomenal seeds planted in 2016.”

In its inaugural year, Folk Music Canada chose to position FolkNorth adjacent to the Canadian Folk Music Awards (December 2- 3) in order to help industry, artists and their representatives attend both events without incurring further travel costs to attend a stand-alone event.  Many artists took advantage of this timing to do business while attending the awards event.

The 2016 edition of FolkNorth also included Crossing Borders. This initiative paired Canadian artists with UK performers for a collaborative writing retreat, followed by in-the-round style performances.  This year’s participants were Ontario artist Oh Susanna and UK artists Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage.  The exchange will continue in 2017, as Oh Susanna travels to the UK for further collaboration and touring with Hannah and Ben.

Folk Music Canada is thankful for the support of Folk Music OntarioMusic PEIand Folk Alliance International, as well as the promotional contribution of our event partner, SpinCount Promotions and Publicity and Penguin Eggs magazine.  We thank Bandzoogle and Marcato for helping to power the technological resources behind this event.

Folk Music Canada thanks the Canadian Folk Music Awards for hosting FolkNorthdelegates at the nominees showcase at Hugh’s Room, and for facilitating FolkNorth guests to attend the awards gala at the Isabel Bader Theatre.

This project has been made possible in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018 : Education, Immigration, Communities, and by Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et à la Feuille de route du Canada 2013-2018 : éducation, immigration, communautés, et des radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.