Thank you to all that came out to attend our Community Consultation, which took place this past Nov. 21st. Thirty-five people attended on one of the coldest nights of the year, and we appreciate the input from all who were there. We have spent the last two months reflecting on what was discussed, and beginning to implement some of the suggestions that came out of it. This is by no means the end of the discussion, which we hope will remain ongoing, around how we can make our music community more supportive and inclusive. Below is a report on what was discussed at the Consultation.
On Nov. 21, 2018, Wavelength held a Community Consultation to publicly share information about the organization and address any questions or concerns from the community about how it is organized and operates.
The consultation was facilitated and moderated by Jeanne LeSage of LeSage Arts Management. Wavelength board member Sally Lee introduced a number of info slides detailing Wavelength’s history, organizational makeup and budget. Wavelength Artistic Director Jonathan Bunce, as well as a number of members of the Wavelength Board of Directors were present to then take questions from the audience. The majority of the meeting was dedicated to answering questions from the audience. An anonymous form was also shared via social media, our website and the event page prior to the meeting, where anyone not able to attend could submit questions, concerns, comments or feedback that would only be viewable by Wavelength’s Board of Directors, not any staff.
Question: Request for information on Wavelength (“WL”) guidelines on artists’ fees and how artists are paid.
Answer: WL explained that there is a range for opening/mid-billed/headline acts. WL at least matches CARFAC minimum fees scales. WL first creates an offer sheet for agencies/managers, or emails a fee proposal to local acts. Artists or management can then negotiate fees and hospitality requirements. Once the proposal is accepted, artists and/or management is then sent a detailed contract from WL outlining the fee, show details, tech agreements, and hospitality details. The contract is signed by both parties before the show (preferably two weeks ahead of time). Since 2015, due to increased public funding, WL has ensured that all artists are paid on the day of performance, though non-profit accounting rules require we pay artist by cheque.
Question: How is WL going to increase diversity on programming voices? What about guest curators?
Answer: Wavelength has in the past involved guest curators, having had multiple programmers from 2005-17, and we will strive to have more in the future. Based upon the recommendations heard at the Community Consultation, for the upcoming 2019 Winter Festival, Wavelength has brought on a guest curator, Emma Bortolon-Vettor, a musician organizer/counsellor, and an academic researching empathy training paradigms involving music.
Question: Is WL really the “Jonny Dovercourt Show”?
Answer: While Jonathan “Jonny Dovercourt” Bunce is a founding member of Wavelength, the organization was started by a collective of four people, with input from many community members. Over the years, the organization has changed membership, with many others taking on curatorial and programming roles at various times. The festivals especially involve a large team of people to create. Because of increased public funding, WL was finally able to hire full time year-round staff in 2017.
Question: How are Board members attracted?
Answer: WL has placed public calls for board members, and will do so again. The WL Board of directors is strictly a volunteer Board. WL is currently looking for new Board members from diverse backgrounds and experience, especially women, Indigenous voices, POC and members of the LGBTQ2S community. We will be posting an open call for new Board members in February, please look out for it on our blog and social media.
Question: Could WL provide mentoring to local artists on how to negotiate fees?
Answer: Yes. Wavelength in the past organized an Artist Incubator series, with a goal of helping promising artists learn how to negotiate the various processes involved in making music and performing. The series was put aside due to a lack of funding, but WL would love to re-establish it if possible. WL will also always be up-front with artists about artist fees and payments.
Question: Could WL provide training/mentoring to new DIY promoters who would benefit from hearing how WL evolved over the years?
Answer: Absolutely. WL has also in the past started a presenters’ conference, which it would like to expand. WL views its position and experience as one of helping and sharing the larger music community.
Question: WL should focus on becoming more approachable for artists/employees/interns to express concerns and anxieties.
Answer: We hear you loud and clear. We will do our best to make our workplace as safe and approachable as possible. We have updated our organization’s policies, including an anti-harassment policy and Code of Conduct. We have also created an anonymous form, to which anyone can submit comments, concerns, complaints or suggestions. Submissions to the form are only viewable by the Board of Directors, NOT any Wavelength staff. Our staff report to the Artistic Director, who in turn reports to the Board of Directors. As of Jan. 10, Wavelength has also participated in the Dandelion Initiative’s Safer Spaces training.
Please find all of those links below:
Question: A face to face meeting with the WL/Toronto indie music community is good to dispel the toxicity of online debate.
Answer: Agreed. The group discussed the possibility of holding more regular community meetings. WL also holds annual panel discussions on music community related topics during its annual Winter Festival.
Question: Could WL seek feedback from artists following performances ($, promotion, sound check, communication with WL)?
Answer: Yes. Wavelength will begin to follow up with artists after the performance with a survey or form which gives artists a chance to offer feedback or ask any questions they have.
Question: How can the community maintain the open communication – shows are not an ideal place for these discussions?
Answer: There was a suggestion for an annual open meeting for Wavelength as an organization. That will be discussed by the Board of Directors. The idea of more regular community meetings with Wavelength to discuss the scene was also met with enthusiasm by the crowd and WL.
Question: Why does Jonny still have a job after the allegation?
Answer: The independent, third-party investigation, into an allegation by a former employee of fostering a toxic work environment in 2015, found that there was no wrongdoing or grounds for dismissal. Jonny was reinstated by the Board of Directors at the completion of the investigation. It should also be mentioned that most organizations, unless there is evidence of a serious breach of conduct or criminal behaviour, would first take the step of an investigation or performance review before taking the step of letting an employee go. WL takes seriously all complaints and any criticisms about the way that it operates. We want to create as safe a space as possible and will do everything we can to make sure nobody has a negative experience.
Again, thank you to all who attended and participated, and continue to foster a positive dialogue as we move forward.
Photos: Aaron Dawson.