Red Rock folk festival gets top marks for gender equity

Canadian Women Working in Music gave Live from the Rock an "A" grade in its first national report card on gender equity at Canadian music festivals.

More than 50 per cent of the performers at this year's Live from the Rock were women

Juno-nominated Canadian singer-songwriter Maria Dunn performed at this year's Live from the Rock Folk Festival in Red Rock. The festival earned an "A" grade from the group Canadian Women Working in Music for achieving gender equity with its performer line-up. (David Williamson)

A music festival in northwestern Ontario has earned high marks for the number of female performers in its line-up from a group that advocates for women in music.

The Live from the Rock Folk Festival earned an "A" grade as part of a first national report card on gender representation at Canadian festivals. 

"They had 55 per cent, which is right in the pocket of what we're looking for," said Candace Shaw,  the director of Canadian Women Working in Music, which produced the report card.

"We're certainly not looking to shove men off the stage all together but what we're looking for and what we're calling for is 50 per cent women-identifying people on stage."

The founding artistic director of Live from the Rock told CBC the festival strives to present a cross-section of artists, and she doesn't find it difficult.

"There are so many amazing female acts in Canada and the world at the moment that it's sort of a surprise that it's difficult for anyone to achieve gender equity," Liz Harvey-Foulds told CBC.   

The Trout Forest festival in Ear Falls earned a C grade on the report card, Shaw said. 

The Thunder Bay Blues Festival was not included in this year's survey.

The report card is a volunteer initiative, Shaw said, and the information in it is crowd-sourced from individuals across the country who tally up the line-ups of local festivals and submit their data.

It can be found on-line on the Canadian Women Working in Music web site.