Canada vs. UK Festival Scene

A comparative analysis by our very own Canadian Production Assistant, Bianca Green.

There are a number of major differences between the festival scene in Canada and UK. A huge difference and a considerable benefit is that the UK is geographically 40 times smaller than Canada, this makes travelling to festivals a small inconvenience rather than equating to more time off work and a few hundred extra dollars spending money. For example, travelling from Vancouver to Toronto, is a 5 hour flight and ranges from $500-$700. Unless you live in the same city, going to a festival across Canada is a commitment, and more like a holiday than just a little ‘weekend fun’. This also means in the process of producing a successful festival, you have to keep in my mind the demographics of people and where they’re all travelling from.

Canada has put together some really amazing festivals. To list a few of the largest ones there’s North by Northeast, Veld and Osheaga. All of which take place in either Toronto or Quebec, both cities are home to Canada’s largest music scene. An unfortunate circumstance that Canada faces is the Canadian dollar being so low, especially compared to America and the UK. This has caused two music festivals near Vancouver, BC to go bankrupt over the past couple of years. Due to the US dollar and the pound being much higher, it made it almost impossible to support the competitive artist’s fees, especially when the festival wasn’t big enough to rely mainly on ticket sales. Another benefit the UK has is population; there are so many people in London that there can be a festival for almost every demographic, and it would most likely still sell enough tickets. In Canada the population is much smaller, meaning the demographic of people isn’t as vast, so different types of festivals are limited.

Canada and the UK both have some great festival experiences. The visible difference between the two is quantity, the UK has many options whereas Canada has limited. The necessity of travel paired with the weak exchange rate and lower population in places means that it is harder to produce niche large scale festivals in Canada than the UK, however the mainstream festivals thrive. Both countries offer a festival voyage that can provide you with memories that can last a life time.

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