Emerging Humber College artists shine at NXNE 2024 despite smaller turnout

Jun 21, 2024 | Arts, Culture

Liz Anthonisen, a performer at NXNE said she always dreamt of being a musician.

“Playing the piano was always just something I was good at and that I liked and allowed me to express myself,” Anthonisen said.

Anthonisen is one of the musical acts from Humber College that graced the final stage of The North by Northeast (NXNE) Music Festival on Saturday, June 15.

She said she was looking forward to working with her friend Elisabeth Dorion, who has been performing at NXNE for many years.

“I’m hoping that because of this performance, Elisabeth will invite me to play with her more,” Anthonisen said. “I’m not sure that the publicity is going to get me very far, but in terms of playing with my friends more and developing more relationships with other musicians, this event seems pretty good.”

The music festival at The Rec Room on Bremner Boulevard captivated attendees with its eclectic mix of emerging artists.

The line-up feature many musicians who had a more atypical style of music.
Picture Credit: Niharika Nayak

The line-up featured many musicians like Michael Lewis. Photo credit: Niharika Nayak

The festival, which has been a mainstay of the Canadian music industry since 1995, included more than 20 of the best live music venues in the city.

Despite a quieter tone compared to previous years, NXNE 2024 maintained its reputation as a critical platform for emerging artists.

The festival’s accessibility and inclusiveness were called into question by some attendees, with students expressing frustration over the $29 full festival pass and the $ 20 day pass.

Many attended to support friends but felt the cost was too high.

The festival’s diverse lineup was a significant draw for fans.

Siddharth Kota, known for his unique blend of styles, and Laura Rivera were among the acts that excited performers and audience members alike.

Jessica Spurrell, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Bachelor of Music student at Humber College, said she appreciated the diverse lineup, which included genres ranging from Indian folk to prog rock.

“It’s super diverse. There are a lot of different music genres here,” she said. “I mean, Elisabeth’s band is Indian folk and Siddharth is prog rock, so that’s as different as you can get.”

Fellow Humber student Jesse Gosling, also attending the festival to support her friend, echoed Spurrell’s sentiments.

“There’s lots of amazing musicians, and they do reflect the diversity. Last year, there was a really big marketing thing,” she said. “They did interviews, took a lot of photos. But this year, we didn’t get to work with the music business students, so it’s definitely had a bit of a quieter tone.”

Gosling said the turnout this year saw a slight dip. She said she participated in NXNE as a band member for about two years but didn’t choose to perform this year.

The festival highlighted both the challenges and the community spirit within Toronto's vibrant music scene.
Picture Credit: Niharika Nayak

The festival highlighted both the challenges and the community spirit within Toronto's vibrant music scene. Photo credit: Niharika Nayak

Both students came out to support Dorion’s band, underscoring the collaborative nature of the festival, which frequently sees musicians supporting one another across various projects.

This variety is a hallmark of NXNE, ensuring something for everyone, regardless of musical preference.

This year’s festival was marked by less promotional activity and had a quieter atmosphere, though it maintained a significant presence.

For those who attended, the festival was a community experience, underscoring the appeal of live music and the role of supporting emerging artists.