The Federation of Canadian Music Festivals (FCMF) is a non-profit umbrella organization designed to develop the amateur competitive festival movement in Canada at the local, provincial and national levels. It began in 1926 as an informal, regional association and was incorporated nationally in 1949. In 2013, the FCMF consisted of more than 220 affiliated music festivals that showcased nearly 700,000 performers in front of some 350,000 audience members.
Formation and History
Established by George S. Mathieson, the federation first convened on 2 January 1926 when representatives of music festivals from the four Western provinces met in Calgary. Meetings continued annually with only occasional representation from Québec and Ontario until 1945. In 1946, festivals from the Atlantic Provinces were invited to join.
Initially an informal organization, the FCMF was constituted in 1949. Member festivals (19 in 1950, 39 in 1970) belonged as individuals to the federation until 1971, when provincial associations were created. By 2004, 229 festivals were represented. Annual conferences are held in different cities across Canada, and the resulting discussions and decisions are published in the annual Digest Report. The federation's newsletter, Piu Mosso, has been published since 1999.
The FCMF was based in Winnipeg until 1988, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, until 1999, and thereafter in Saskatoon. From its inception until 1983, the federation provided its affiliated festivals with adjudicators, thereby ensuring a consistent standard across Canada.
The goal of all festivals within the federation is to provide educational and performance opportunities for young musicians of every skill level, and to provide incentive for musicians to continue their studies and progress to higher levels of competition.
The FCMF has supervised the awarding of the George S. Mathieson, City of Lincoln, Richard Cooke and Dr. and Mrs. JFK English trophies. It has also been the organizing body for the National Music Festival (the National Competitive Festival of Music until 1987, and the CIBC National Music Festival from 1987 to 1998). Since 1981, the National Festival has been held in a different province each year.
Founders of the Federation
Outstanding festival leaders have been named Founders of the Federation, an honour awarded by the FCMF to individuals who have committed themselves to the music festival movement in Canada. Recipients have included Mathieson, Richard W. Cooke, Reginald Hugo and E.G. Pridham, Marlene Cherry and Cora Molstad.
A version of this entry originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.