Entertainment·Video

Music festivals forced to adapt, juggle changes amid low Canadian dollar

Canadian music festivals are changing their tune, with the plummeting loonie forcing organizers to adopt new measures, contemplate cutbacks and take a hard look at headliners as the 2016 season approaches.

'You're probably going to see some festivals go by the wayside after this summer'

As the loonie plummets, the cost of staging a big music festival skyrockets. Organizers must juggle new measures, contemplate cuts and revamp lineups to compensate. 1:38

Canadian music festivals are changing their tune, with the plummeting loonie forcing organizers to adopt new measures, contemplate cutbacks and take a hard look at headliners as the 2016 season approaches.

Countrywide, festival administrators are revisiting programming and other decisions due to the drastic drop in the Canadian dollar since big-name touring talent (as well as their accompanying sets and crew) often comes from the U.S. — and is paid in U.S. dollars.

"I hate to say it's going to be Darwinian and only the strongest are going to survive, but I think natural attrition is inevitable this summer," Kevin Goodman, chief entertainment officer of Front Row Centre Music and Entertainment Marketing, told CBC News.

"There are going to be festivals that aren't going to be able to keep their heads above water, I think, in light of what's going on with the U.S. dollar and the exchange rate....You're probably going to see some festivals go by the wayside after this summer, especially some of those smaller festivals."

A boost to homegrown acts is one potential upside to the situation, however, with Goodman noting that festivals could pack their lineups with talented Canadian artists as opposed to pricier imports this year. 

Also, "promoters are going to be really savvy as it relates to the U.S. and international bands that they get," Goodman predicted, "making sure those bands are bigger, better, the best in order to draw in the fans, to draw in the revenue, to help pay for those artists."

In the video above, Deana Sumanac-Johnson reports on how the low Canadian dollar is compelling festival organizers across the country to adapt so the show can go on.

The plunging dollar is forcing Canadian music festivals to make a host of changes as the summer season approaches. (Katherine Holland)

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