Ever since we posted our story about NXNE's rocky relationship with the Toronto music scene, criticism of the festival's expansion has reached a groundswell. Concerns about pervasive corporate sponsorship, inflated ticket prices and the shutting out of smaller local outlets from media accreditation have piled up.
But the biggest cause for consternation has been the 45-day radius clause that prevents all acts performing at NXNE from playing in Toronto before and after, essentially stifling the local music scene during festival season. At least one band has spoken out about being kicked off the festival for playing a charity event within that radius, and Weird Canada sent out a petition to shorten the clause (at press time it sits just below 3000 signatures).
Well, it turns out the powers that be have been listening. Today, NXNE sent out a press release announcing that both they and their rival festival CMW have abolished their blanket radius clauses for next year. It's unclear whether that means it will be removed altogether or applied differently to bigger headliners and emerging acts. Here's some text from the release:
After taking note of opinions expressed online, and following productive meetings with CMW president Neill Dixon, NXNE has decided to eliminate the blanket radius clause for 2015. The two festivals believe that through greater cooperation and communication, they can better serve all venues, artists, and music fans in Toronto while at the same time preserving their respective identities.
“We are so fortunate to have such an engaged and vocal music community,” says NXNE’s Michael Hollett. “Unintended consequences of our policy were pointed out. We are making changes that address these issues - changes that don’t hurt up-and-coming bands, and yet still protect the integrity of NXNE’s lineup.”
"We are happy to see this issue resolved for the strength of the local community and artists building their careers. We look forward to both of the festivals co-existing in 2015 and continuing to grow Toronto as 'the' music destination," says Neill Dixon, president of Canadian Music Week.
Let's hope this is the start of greater cooperation between Toronto's festivals and its emerging arts communities.