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Canadian Government Announces $31 Million for Festivals and Arts Performances

In addition to a previously announced increase to the Canada Music Fund, the new federal budget includes $31 million for the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, which supports performing arts events — a sector currently facing significant financial challenges.

Audience members at a music festival
Photo by Aranxa Esteve on Unsplash

The federal budget has good news for arts presenters.

Budget 2024: Fairness for every generation, announced April 16, includes $31 million in funding for the Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF) over two years. CAPF provides funding to arts festivals and performing arts presenters, a sector that is struggling amidst inflation and loss of lockdown-era revenues.


This increased funding is nearly double the current annual supplementary funding for the program, which has received $8 million per year since 2019, and will now receive $15.5 million in the next two years.

A portion of the new funding is already earmarked for specific festivals: Montreal circus festival La TOHU; Montreal dance and theatre event Festival TransAmériques; the Vancouver Fringe Festival; Quebec's Sherbrooke Film Festival; and another Sherbrooke event, Festival des traditions du monde.

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The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA), which has been advocating for an increase to the fund, welcomed the news. “We would like to thank the government for its recognition of the pressure our industry is under,” said CLMA President Erin Benjamin. “The CAPF increase will provide partial, yet essential, relief and is another step in the right direction."

CLMA is part of the #FutureOfLive coalition, a collective of 34 performing arts associations, that has been drawing attention to the difficult circumstances in the performing arts industry. In a February letter to Ministers Chrystia Freeland and Pascale St-Onge, the coalition called for an increase of $21 million annually to the CAPF.

Festivals large and small have faced existential threats to their operations from financial pressures. Montreal's massively influential Just for Laughs recently cancelled its 2024 edition, while others like the Vancouver Folk Music Festival have been rescued by government funding.

'Vital support for Canadian artists'

The budget also confirmed St-Onge's previous announcement of a $32 million annual increase to the Canada Music Fund, which CLMA had campaigned for alongside other music organizations like CIMA and SOCAN. The Canada Music Fund supports the granting bodies FACTOR and Musicaction, which provide assistance for recording, marketing, touring and more.

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“This increase to the Canada Music Fund will provide vital support for Canadian artists and companies to continue to innovate, create and thrive,” says CIMA President Andrew Cash. “While there is much work still to be done, the music sector appreciates and welcomes this announcement.”

CIMA also highlighted that the budget's focus on Canada's housing crisis and its increased support for mental health resources will benefit Canadian musicians, many of whom live in precarious conditions.

"Given that a significant portion of arts and culture workers are experiencing rapid declines in affordability, these measures are indispensable for nurturing a dynamic arts and culture sector," says CIMA in a statement.

In addition to affordability, the budget addressed another topic on the minds of many musicians: AI. Budget 2024 includes $2.4 billion in targeted AI support, some of which is earmarked for workers in creative industries affected by AI. The funding comes as conversation about AI in music heats up, with artists like Billie Eilish and Pearl Jam signing onto a letter condemning irresponsible AI practices.

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Find out more about Budget 2024 here.

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Tom Cochrane
Courtesy Photo

Tom Cochrane

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