Charitable Choices: Alysha Haugen, Long Winter Festival Manager

Long Winter is a Toronto not-for-profit music and arts festival. We spoke with Alysha Haugen, Manager, to find out more about what they do.

Long Winter


Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.

Long Winter is a monthly not-for-profit music and art series that runs through the winter months, intended to break the darkness of the winter by illuminating the city’s arts and culture sectors and engaging our communities.

Devoted to marginalized communities, diverse subcultures, and “outsider” art, Long Winter cultivates an inclusive, alternative space that is welcoming of participants – both artists and audiences – who have been historically underserved by the institutionalized culture world, and may feel less comfortable or accommodated in those spaces.

Long Winter has cultivated a diverse cross-section of local music and art presented in a social and provocative format with as few barriers to access as possible.

When did you start/join it?

Long Winter was founded in 2012 as an initiative of the Polaris Prize-winning art hardcore punk band, Fucked Up. They emerged from Toronto’s DIY/punk scene in the late 90s and went on to achieve international success. They started Long Winter to give back to the community in which they had developed as artists. It was designed in the same spirit as the anarchic, community-driven, youth-dominated DIY music and art scenes that gave rise to the band.

In keeping with the ethos of the scene from which we emerged, Long Winter maintains a uniquely collaborative, horizontal model. We program through a networked collective that draws from a diverse range of artists/organizers embedded across Toronto’s many music and cultural/subcultural scenes; participation is open to anyone who is interested in contributing.

What made you want to get involved?

I’d experienced Long Winter both as an artist and an audience member in the past, and was taken with the sense of community and the collective nature of Long Winter. I got involved as a grant writer and applied to be Festival Manager when the position opened.

How has it changed?

Now in its 10th year, Long Winter has become a vital presence in the southern Ontario DIY arts landscape: we engage an unprecedented cross-section of genres and present the GTA’s most exciting emerging artists alongside established names. Our lineups maintain a signature density and variety that attract a broad cross-section of Ontarians, drawn by the experience as much as the art.

How can our readers help?

The best way to support is to get involved – going to shows and supporting our programming, helping spread the word of our events.

Do you have any events coming up?

Nov 26 and 27 Long Winter presented two days and nights of programming – a DIY conference during the daytime with panels and workshops on topics including Inclusivity in the Queer scene, Accessibility in DIY spaces, Budgeting and pricing DIY parties, and much more. We’ll be taking over St. Anne’s Anglican Church and Parish Hall for evenings of dancing, visual arts, live music, art installations, and much more. As always, our events are for all ages and PWYC. Sign up!

Where can we follow you?

Instagram | Twitter | Website

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

Freedom School Toronto, a youth and parent-driven initiative that intervenes to fight against anti-Black racism in the school system and to create educational alternatives for Black children. They do three weeks of programming every summer for kids aged 4-12 as well as a Saturday school program, students conference, a Black Liberation Comic Club, and so much more.



About Demian Vernieri 599 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.