PANEL: DIY in Ontario - Outside Toronto

Nov 27, 2021 | 18h - 18h45 (Pa)
12:00 - 12:45 p.m. (To)

With Jen McKerral (Up Here), Becky Katz, Harina Mokanan, Rihkee Strapp, Rachel Weldon, Jimmy Wiggins.

Local musical life - and touring opportunities - outside the GTA.

Jen McKerral moderates dialogue between DIY leaders across Ontario -- forging independent music scenes, independently.

Jen McKerral
Jen McKerral is one of the co-founders of Up Here, a public art and emerging music festival in Sudbury, ON, which, in 2019, led the creation of Canada's largest mural. Jen is also an artist manager, grant writer, community organizer, and federal arts funding lackey.

Becky Katz
Becky Katz is a Hamilton-based artist, activist, musician, art educator, community arts practitioner, promoter, curator, and DIY Community Builder. Becky is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Strangewaves Music Festival, and has worked for Centre[3] for Artistic & Social Practice for the past 13 years--wearing many different hats, including the Director of Outreach. Becky is a post-medium artist whose practice cannot be pigeon-holed. In 2018, she took home the Hamilton Arts Award for Art Education and Community Art. In her "free" time, Becky involves herself in numerous creative community endeavors that have a particular focus on collaboration, and shine a spotlight on the peculiarities of human nature, including, but not limited to: CA$INO Artspace, Sourpussy, Square~Wear, Electric Eclectics, Fwee Twade, The Aluminum Quilting Society, Hamilton Encampment Support Network, and many more!

Harina Mokanan
Harina Mokanan is an Eritrean- Canadian entrepreneur, music selectress, cultural producer, and creative strategist. While working in the London, ON not-for-profit sector Harina began nurturing ideas about creative programming that in recent years have come to fruition. As founder of @empyreanproduct and co-creator of @rudegirlsldn and @plumpsessions, Harina has launched dance parties, discussion panels, intimate forums, and multi-arts events. As an entrepreneur and grassroots organizer, Harina’s practice is one of reimagining space — curating within different physical, virtual, natural, and poetical environments — to draw out settings where the magic of connection is sparked by the invitation to embrace your authenticity.

Rihkee Strapp
Rihkee Strapp entered the world from a sea of blood, fully grown wearing a gold set of armour. They are an Ayakwew Metis multi-disciplinary artist raised in Northern Ontario by nohkum’s dial-up internet and its dark vistas. Rihkee is an alumni of the Studio [Y] systems leadership fellowship at the MaRS Discovery District. Their highly collaborative work re-appropriates pop-culture, myth and nostalgia, playing with concepts of time and technology often using humour and character to animate their ideas.

Rachel Weldon
Rachel Weldon is a music programmer, event producer, and DJ. She is founder and producer for Debaser, an Ottawa-based DIY music presenter organization established in 2013, where she produces Pique, Debaser’s new quarterly series for forward-thinking music and art. Rachel also does programming and administration for SAW Centre, an artist-run centre that operates a venue, contemporary art gallery and artist studios, and consults with several artists and organizations on programming, production and project management. Prior to her current role, Rachel was at Kelp Music and MEGAPHONO festival, where she worked on day-to-day management for roster artists such as Lido Pimienta, Andy Shauf and U.S. Girls. At MEGAPHONO, she oversaw programming and general management for the annual festival and conference from 2016-2019. She is currently chair of the board of Halifax’s EverySeeker Festival (FKA Obey Convention).

Jimmy Wiggins
Jimmy Wiggins has been working in the Thunder Bay music scene since the early 2000s as a promoter for metal and punk bands. While initially working exclusively with local bands, he quickly began booking regional, national and international acts and expanding his focus to include all sub-genres of rock, pop, metal, punk and EDM. In 2004, along with a small crew of dedicated music lovers, he helped develop, a community website that heavily promotes live music and entertainment for Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. Jimmy has a background in both Business Marketing and Advertising which he has used to bring his company, Wiggins Productions to the forefront of the music scene in Thunder Bay. He is a monthly contributor in The Walleye, Thunder Bay's alternative arts & culture magazine. Jimmy is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and hosts the majority of the city's drag shows which showcase both local drag artists as well as international acts, including drag queens from the popular reality TV show, RuPaul's Drag Race. When he's not shamelessly promoting events, he likes to hang out with his dog, Fendi, binge crime docs and play drums.

This panel will both be broadcast virtually and streamed live from Lula Lounge in Toronto.

Lula Lounge is an accessible venue. If you have any questions about accessibility needs, please reach out to us at

ASL interpretation will be available for this session.