Indigenizing the Mainstream: Music Festivals and Indigenous Popular Music


  • Liz Przybylski University of California, Riverside


music festivals, Indigenous music, sonic sovereignty, online performance


First Nations, Métis, and Inuit music and dance practices have enacted Indigenous survivance since colonization began. Contemporary Indigenous performers within and beyond present-day Canadian borders continue this performative intervention through popular music, building what I call sonic sovereignty. In response to music industry barriers, Indigenous media professionals created performance spaces for First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and international Indigenous musicians. Facing ongoing political changes, Indigenous music professionals navigated multilayered challenges for the 2020 festival season. As uncertainty continues around music festivals in the future, the article addresses how decolonial possibilities are shifting around cultural and political change through music festival performance.

Author Biography

Liz Przybylski, University of California, Riverside

Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology



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