Every spring since 1987, the City of Peterborough excitedly awaits the start of a summer festival like no other. A festival that offers eight weeks of free-admission concerts that showcase renowned musicians in a beautiful gathering place at the end of the rapids (Nogojiwanong) on the shores of picturesque Little Lake. After a two-year break, Peterborough Musicfest is back to celebrate its 35th year! This year Peterborough Musicfest is excited to welcome acts like The Spoons, Gowan, Sam Roberts Band, JJ Wilde and many more to the Fred Anderson Stage at Del Crary Park.
Fred Anderson started this festival in 1987 with one guiding principle – all concerts would be free-admission. Fred sincerely believed everyone should have access to top-quality music regardless of one’s ability to pay. Fred was on to something. The psychosocial benefits of music – to reduce stress and anxiety, aid learning, increase well-being, and more – are increasingly well studied and understood. So are the economic benefits. In a 2016 survey, Peterborough Musicfest was valued at $4.2 million to the Peterborough economy creating 44 jobs throughout the summer season. That’s a healthy boost to our local businesses and tax base.
Music sales have fallen dramatically in recent years thanks to piracy and the ubiquity of low-paying streaming services. As a result, all but the biggest names in music have seen their income from recorded music plummet. Live performance now fills the void, seeing increases in concert tickets by 23% since 2015 to an average of $91.90 USD. Artist fees have increased for our non-for-profit festival just as much in that time.
Every artist who sets foot on our stage is paid market rates for their work. We are funded by corporate sponsorships (most of whom are small locally owned businesses), through multi-level government support, fundraising initiatives, and private donations and we remain steadfastly, and uniquely, free of charge for our audience. That’s right – it is absolutely FREE to see the likes of City & Colour, Walk Off the Earth, Serena Ryder, Gordon Lightfoot, 54.40, Tom Cochrane and so many others at Peterborough Musicfest because this feisty, industrious, creative city believes music should be enjoyed by all people, regardless of their ability to pay. We’re proud of what we’ve built and we invite you to be part of it.
Please consider supporting us by donating online on our website and definitely come out to see a show! We look forward to an incredible 35th season starting on July 1, 2022 – we will see you at the park!