Super-Short Biography

Candace Shaw is a Feminist who likes whiskey (neat), language (salty), and people who pick up the tab (frequently).

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Candace Shaw is a Feminist, Cultural Producer, and Activist who has been a fixture on the Canadian music scene for almost thirty years.  She was the long-time Artistic Director for the Peterborough Folk Festival, Chair of the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, and Booker for the Music City Summer Series in The Distillery District, Toronto, amongst other roles. She is a thoughtful, engaging, and provocative commentator and advocate for women, the arts, and arts workers’ rights, and in 2019 was a candidate in the Federal election.
Candace is the founder of Secret, a not-for-profit advocacy and education organization working with under-represented people in the Canadian music industry.


Candace Shaw is a Feminist, Cultural Producer, and Activist who lives and works in Canada.  Equally comfortable onstage or off, she is a thoughtful, engaging, and provocative cultural commentator and advocate for women’s rights, safety, and mental health. As the founder of Secret Frequency, an advocacy organization for under-represented groups in the music industry, she has been a change-maker, working to make the industry catch up to the times. As a candidate in the 2019 federal election, she pushed for social justice and an urgent response to the climate emergency. With a long history as a performer and producer, her passion for community, heritage, and history extends beyond her own personal experience and informs her intense curiosity about places and people. She books live music for festivals, venues, and events.

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Feminist, Cultural Producer, and Activist Candace Shaw has been involved in arts and culture for more than 20 years.  Currently, she is the Founder and Director of Secret Frequency, an advocacy and education organization working with under-represented people in the music industry.

In 2019, she ran as a candidate in the Canadian Federal election in her hometown of Peterborough, and fought a hard battle to bring social justice and a voice for change to the riding.

She is a long-standing advocate and activist for women and arts workers’ rights, safety, and mental health. An able host for events, workshops, or radio, and an entertaining addition to panel discussions, most recently acting as Emcee for Little York Folk Festival,  Shelter Valley Folk Festival, the 30th annual Hillside Festival, and speaking at the Folk Alliance International and Folk Music Ontario conferences about women’s issues in the music industry. In December 2012, she was appointed to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport‘s Live Music Working Group, and in 2013 was asked to join the committee guiding the Toronto Live Music Initiative, 4479.

As the Manager of Events and Sponsorships at the Distillery Historic District in Toronto, she revived the neighbourhood’s cultural life and produced more than 200 event days annually, increasing Event revenues by 370% over five years.  Working to rebrand marketing materials and plans for the District, she spearheaded, oversaw, and implemented website redesigns, literature development, and social media strategies to engage audiences near and far.

Under her leadership as Executive and Artistic Director of the Peterborough Folk Festival from 2006-2013, the three-day community and arts festival was re-branded, increasing funding by more than 40%, and becoming an artistic leader both within the local community and on the national music scene.

An outspoken cultural commentator with strong opinions, she has been a juror for the JUNO Awards, The Canadian Folk Music Awards, and FACTOR (Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings). For six years, she was  an appointed member of the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Advisory Committee to the City of Peterborough.

A graduate of the PCVS Integrated Arts Program and Trent University, she has appeared in more than 40 films and theatrical productions including Cavan Blazers in 1993 and more recently, the Canadian web series Grimwell.  In 1999 she was part of the three-person creative team behind Flick, the first feature-length independent film written, filmed, and produced in Peterborough.  An avid volunteer with a passion for community engagement, she has been active on the Board of Directors of arts organizations such as Artspace, the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, and Shelter Valley Folk Festival.

Shaw currently lives in Cabbagetown in  Toronto, Ontario.