2018 Indigenous Day Live promises music, dancing and more to bring Canadians together

Photo taken at 2017 Indigenous Day Live.
Photo taken at 2017 Indigenous Day Live. Indigenous Day Live / APTN

On June 23, live and on location from Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa, APTN’s Indigenous Day Live (IDL) will showcase solo and collaborative performances bringing the nation together in celebration, proving once again that Indigenous culture and identity is thriving.

IDL 2018 will feature elements of the arts and culture community throughout the nation. A fusion of musical and dance genres, languages, styles and interdisciplinary arts from the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples will come together on stage to paint an exciting living experience of contemporary Indigenous expression.

Kardinal Offishall, Walk Off the Earth, Shawnee, Lido Pimienta, Ria Mae, Sister Says, William Prince, Tom Wilson, Brooke Simpson, Logan Staats, Kelly Fraser, and Oh My Darling are just a handful of the many artists on this year’s lineup.

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APTN chief operating officer Sky Bridges told Global News that the lineup of artists is always representative of Indigenous peoples and that every stage will have a performance by someone who is First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

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Bridges added: “We also are always inclusive of having a performance that is francophone and then we have a mixture of genres so that we have a wide appeal of everyone as well as traditional elements. There is a balancing act here of ensuring that we are being reflective of all Indigenous people as well as creating a lineup that has a wide variety of genres so that we invite everyone to be able to enjoy something that speaks to them.”

“Indigenous Day Live is all about putting a spotlight on Indigenous culture and how Indigenous people perceive themselves in terms of the expression of their culture through, music, dance and visuals,” Bridges said of the event.

“Here we’ve created this incredible day with all kinds of activities leading up to a live broadcast. That live music broadcast is all about highlighting our emerging artists, our established musical artists, sharing our culture through the lens in which through Indigenous people see the world. It is a great opportunity for everyone, not just for Indigenous peoples, to celebrate who they are and to invite all Canadians in for an opportunity to share and experience our culture.”

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“It is a free concert and you have to come on down and enjoy it, whether it’s in person or by tuning into APTN,” Bridges said.

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Grace Dove, host of Toronto’s IDL 2018, told Global News that she hopes the event shows “how proud we are and our resilience, creativity and our celebration.”

“I think that this is a healthy way to share our culture that did survive genocide and we’re coming from a very hard and tough past. I think it’s important for Canada to recognize and honour us,” Dove shared. “I think there’s a long way to go for any type of reconciliation. This event is a nice way to just leave the politics and just show how proud we are and that we’re still here, we’re still creating, we’re still gathering.”

Dove added: “Within my parent’s lifetime, we weren’t even allowed to gather or get in groups as native peoples and now here we are on stage saying that we are still here and that Canada needs to meet us halfway and start accepting and trying to heal.”

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“APTN’s 12th edition of Indigenous Day Live continues to bring Canadians together to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ accomplishments, through cultural activities and live music while contributing to the nationwide movement of reconciliation,” said Jean La Rose, APTN chief executive officer. “We are grateful for the generous financial support from our regional and national partners who enable us to continue expanding our grassroots efforts and reach even more Canadians year after year.”

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This year, Indigenous Day Live will bring the Saturday night concert lineup to its partner festivals: the Toronto Indigenous Arts Festival at Fort York and the Ottawa Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival at Vincent Massey Park, which both run June 21-24.

“Every year, National Indigenous Peoples Day allows Canadians to discover and appreciate the cultural diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. It is also an opportunity for these communities to proudly display their own identities. That is why we are pleased to support organizations, such as APTN, that are putting on spectacular shows and a host of activities for the entire family once again this year,” said Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly.

Indigenous Day Live has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.

Indigenous Day Live will air live on APTN, online at and via the partnering Indigenous radio waves. The five-hour IDL concert will broadcast live on June 23 from 7 p.m. to midnight ET/PT on APTN.

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