The Shortlist

NEXT’s picks for the top 10 things to do in Canada for the month of May 2021. Canadian Music Week roars back online, top Indigenous musicians live-stream and Cruella gets an origin story.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids (SNRK) posing


Livestream Spotlights Indigenous Canadian Music Talent

Tkaronto Music Festival
Date: Fri., May 21 to Sun., May 23
Online fest
Price: free /


The Tkaronto Music Festival, an international Indigenous music festival streaming entirely online, enters its second year this month with a spotlight shining on some of the best Indigenous artists in the world.


Produced by the 50/50 Performing Arts Collective, the groundbreaking festival is streaming for three days, starting May 21, and features some of the biggest and brightest names in Canadian talent, including: Crown Lands, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Lido Pimienta, Northern Cree, and Shawnee Kish.


The festival also has gorgeous exclusive merch—you can purchase beautiful, hand-beaded pendants by Mad Aunty and shirts by Chippewar. The Collective’s mission is for all Canadians to support Indigenous musicians as passionately as they do settlers, so if you’re looking to support and enjoy some of the greatest talent that so-called Canada has to offer, this is the place to do it.


The schedule, full lineup, streaming link and more can be found at


Screenshot from The Great Escape Online


Time For A Great Escape

The Great Escape Online
Date: Thurs., May 13–Fri., May 14
Virtual event
Price: Free (Music Festival Pass), $78 (Conference Pass)


The Great Escape is a U.K.- based music festival and conference that is going virtual for the first time. Canadian talent will be highlighted in their own Canada House showcase, curated by the Canadian Independent Music Association, MusicOntario, Music BC, Manitoba Music and Music Nova Scotia.


Performers include Ethiopian/ Eritrean singer-songwriter Witch Prophet, Francophone electro-artist Rayannah, R&B musician Laura Roy and soulful singer iamtheliving. Performances are free to watch with registration.

Aga Khan Gohar Dashti - Untitled 4 from the series Lands


Contact Photography Festival

Contact Photography Festival
Date: Begins May 1, virtual programming through 2021
Virtual and in-person event
Price: Free viewings; workshops from $15


Art galleries might be closed but the streets are fair game: the CONTACT Photography Festival is filling them with excellent photography exhibitions this month, and dressing at-home screens for the rest of the year with their virtual programming. Head to Dundas, College and Bloor West to check out the sterling work of Sheridan College graduates splashed across billboards until May 16, or check the CONTACT website for a variety of pop-up outdoor exhibitions to satiate those art cravings.


Prefer to stay home? Learn to properly design a portfolio, self-publish a photobook or explore the politics of still life photography with one of the myriad workshops on offer.




International Indigenous Hip Hop Awards

International Indigenous Hip Hop Awards
Date: Sat., May 22 and Sun., May 23
Time: 10 AM–4:30 PM CT (Sat.); 4 Pm–10 PM CT (Sun.)
Virtual event
Price: $16 (general admission); $40 (VIP)


Broadcasting from this year’s host city of Winnipeg, this two-day virtual event celebrates arts and culture from national and international Indigenous creators. Saturday is an all-day music industry conference with guest speakers, workshops and virtual booths.


Sunday is a red carpet and award show hosted by Lil Mike and Funny Bone, and judged by Masta Ace, MissChristie Lee, Blahzay Blahzay and Rex Smallboy, among others. The weekend will be filled with musical performances including MsShellz (pictured), spoken-word pieces, DJ sets and visual art showcases.




Spotlight on Searchlight

CBC Searchlight
Date: Now until Tues., June 22
Online contest


The CBC’s cross-country search for the next great musical act is back and they need the public’s help to pick their grand prize winner.


Registration runs until May 3, and artists are encouraged to submit their best original song for consideration. After a few rounds of online voting and deliberation among a panel of industry judges, the winner will receive an Alan Slaight JUNO Master Class, recording time at Calgary’s National Music Centre and $5,000 worth of equipment and studio funds. Past Searchlight winners include Edmonton pop singer Shawnee–profiled on page 31—and Halifax R&B artist Aquakultre.

Coldplay posing


A Very Worthy Event

Live at Worthy Farm
Date: Sat., May 22 and Sun., May 23
Time: 7 PM ET (Sat.); 9 AM and 2 PM ET (Sun.)
Glastonbury Festival
Virtual event
Price: $35


Forced to cancel their world-renowned festival for the second year in a row, the Glastonbury team is bringing live music to the small screen with their first-ever livestream event. This five-hour extravaganza will include performances from Coldplay, HAIM, Jorja Smith, Wolf Alice, IDLES and more, all shot by Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale at Worthy Farm in Somerset, England. Performances will be interspersed with spoken word pieces from special surprise guests. Make sure to join the stream on time—much like a real festival, if you miss a set you won’t be able to rewind!


Headshot of The Weeknd


iHeartRadio Music Awards

iHeartRadio Music Awards
Date: Thurs., May 27
Time: 8 PM ET
Television and radio
Broadcast / Price: Free


The eighth annual iHeart- Radio Music Awards celebrates some of the top artists played and requested on the iHeartRadio platforms throughout 2020. Broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, the show is available to watch on FOX and listen to on local iHeartRadio stations. Several Canadian acts are receiving some love this year, including The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, JP Saxe and Tate McRae.

Voïvod bandmates


Montreal Metal Legends Stream Vintage Voïvod

Voïvod Livestream
Date: Sun., May 30 and Sun., June 27
Time: 4 PM ET
Virtual Event
Price: $22–$32.50


Montreal metal legends Voïvod, who got their Heavy Metal Album of the Year JUNO in 2019, have announced two virtual concerts as part of their Hypercube catalogue, deep dive sessions. Hypercube is the group’s series of livestreams performing vintage Voivod filmed at RadicArt Recording Studio in rural Quebec.


On May 30, Voïvod will perform their album Nothingface in its entirety for the first time live. Fans will get to watch them do the same for the classic Dimension Hatröss album on June 27.


Both performances include exclusive afterparty Q&As. The shows are presented by Heavy Montréal and Greenland Productions, and tickets are $22 per livestream or $32.50 for both.

Emma Stone as Cruella


Cruella Origin Story Told with Fashionable Flourish

Where: Disney+ Premier Access
What: Film, 135 mins
When: Releases Fri., May 28
Genre: Family
Price: $30 to rent


Academy Award winners Emma Stone and Emma Thompson come together in 1970s London, England to tell the origin story of iconic Disney villain Cruella de Vil.


Stone plays Estella, an aspiring fashion designer who befriends a pair of young thieves. The three build a life for themselves through crime and mischief. Thompson plays a new character, Baroness von Hellman, who drives Estella to new, wicked heights. This film promises stunning costumes and brilliant performances. While movie theatres are still closed, viewers can catch the action at home on Disney+ Premier Access.

Tate McRae sitting in shower


Tate McRae Not "Too Young" to be Livestreaming

Tate Mcrae Livestream
When: Sat., May 8
Time: 8 PM ET
Virtual event
Price: $20–$200


After surpassing one billion streams on her single you broke me first, Calgary’s rising star Tate McRae announced a special virtual event to connect with fans worldwide. The TATE’S TOO YOUNG TO BE SAD Global Virtual Show is a professionally produced concert with a full band, dancers and big-time visuals. McRae will perform songs from her new Too Young to Be Sad EP, as well as old fan favourites. Tickets start at $20 and packages include signed merchandise, online meet-and-greets and a separate, exclusive virtual performance with a fan-voted setlist and Q&A.



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