Start­ing on a sour note

Union pick­ets mu­sic fest for not pay­ing bands

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - Your Essential Daily News - Kevin Maimann

A mu­si­cians’ union led a protest against a ma­jor Edmonton mu­sic fes­ti­val Thurs­day.

Gra­ham Guest, a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian and board mem­ber with the lo­cal Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of Mu­si­cians (CFM) chap­ter, said it’s “un­rea­son­able” that Break­out West Mu­sic Fest is not pay­ing per­form­ers for its event, which fea­tures 60 acts play­ing at 10 venues this weekend, as well as con­fer­ences and in­dus­try networking events.

“Everyone in­volved in th­ese con­fer­ences is get­ting paid at vary­ing lev­els,” Guest said, pick­et­ing with about three dozen oth­ers out­side Sut­ton Place ho­tel down­town.

Al­berta Fed­er­a­tion of Labour mem­ber Glyn­nis Lieb said the CFM’s strug­gle struck a chord with her. As some­one who has been in­volved in the arts com­mu­nity, she’s no­ticed per­form­ers are of­ten ex­pected to work for free be­cause it’s viewed as a “priv­i­lege to be seen and heard.”

“This is their busi­ness; they have to sup­port them­selves and their fam­i­lies,” Lieb said.

Break­out West is run by the Western Cana­dian Mu­sic Alliance on a bud­get of about $60,000 and takes place in a dif­fer­ent city each year.

The alliance has ar­gued per­form­ers get a lot out of the ex­po­sure, con­fer­ences and one-on-one time with in­dus­try mem­bers.

Its ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Robyn Ste­wart, said the protests had lit­tle im­pact on the fes­ti­val, with only two acts pulling out.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.