Where have the Canadians gone at SXSW?

A poor exchange rate, a 'Trump slump' and a changing music scene contributed to a lower turnout this year. Which means more exposure for the acts that came.


Time was you couldn’t take a step in any direction during South by Southwest without tripping over another Canadian act.

This year, however, the Can-con presence in Austin, while still very real, has been noticeably diminished. The “marquee” names of years past — those at the Metric/Broken Social Scene/F—ed Up/Death from Above 1979 level – are nowhere to be seen, while homegrown indie labels such as Arts & Crafts, Paper Bag Records, Last Gang and Six Shooter aren’t bothering to run their own showcases as in years past.

Sure, the annual Canadian Blast barbecue on Wednesday afternoon remained a popular festival staple and the one place where you could be guaranteed to run into every single Canadian affiliated with the music industry who made the trip to Texas, and a healthy representation of talent curated by the folks at Pop Montreal, Halifax Pop Explosion, M for Montreal and BreakOutWest took over Canada House at Swan Dive on Thursday and Friday.