The Northern Touch Music Festival was created in the same spirit that helped Canadian hip-hop become what it is today. We pay homage to the pioneers of Canadian hip-hop and try to reflect the same mentality and mandate used in the past, to grow the industry in the future.

In 1998, Rascalz (emcees Red1 and Misfit, and record producer DJ Kemo) won a Juno Award for their album Cash Crop. The award for “Best Rap Recording” was presented at the untelevised technical awards the night before the main Juno ceremony, drawing criticism that the Juno’s were trying to create a barrier to the commercial visibility of Canadian hip-hop.

Rascalz became the first Canadian hip-hop act to decline a Juno award, sparking a controversy about the state of Canadian hip-hop. As a result, the Juno Awards moved the “Best Rap Recording” category to the main ceremony the following year. That year, Rascalz also wrote a one-off single called Northern Touch, which they recorded with guest rappers Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust and Choclair. The song was released as a single and was adopted as an anthem for Canadian hip-hop's resilience and determination.

Defying the odds, Northern Touch became one of the biggest Canadian hip-hop hits ever recorded. At the Juno Awards of 1999, The Rascalz won again for Northern Touch and performed the song live at the televised ceremony.

Northern Touch Music Festival celebrates the past and spotlights continued growth into the future. We are here to stand as an equal voice for Canadian hip-hop, soul and R&B.

Meet the Team

Here are the people who are working hard to support the growth of the hip-hop, R&B and Soul music industry in Canada.


Bunny Lester



Alpha Toshineza



Lisa Muswagon



Shea Malcolmson

Festival Director/Founder



Anthony Augustine

Festival Director

Music Journalist

Not an artist? You can help too!

If you would like to sponsor the event or volunteer to help at the Northern Touch Music Festival get in touch with us.