Skip to content

Buffy Sainte-Marie retires from live performances, cites health concerns

Fleet Foxes will take Sainte-Marie’s spot in the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival

Buffy Sainte-Marie has announced that she’s retiring from live performances.

A statement announcing her decision cited factors including travel-induced health concerns and performance-inhibiting physical challenges.

“I have made the difficult decision to pull out of all scheduled performances in the foreseeable future,” Sainte-Marie said in the statement. “Arthritic hands and a recent shoulder injury have made it no longer possible to perform to my standards.

“Sincere regrets to all my fans and family, my band and the support teams that make it all possible.”

The legendary singer-songwriter, who’s in her early 80s, suggested in September that performances in Ottawa and Vancouver were part of what she said was “probably going to be her last tour.”

Sainte-Marie, in an interview with The Canadian Press at the time, said she was cutting back on flying, meaning fewer appearances, following a rough summer that included a bout with COVID-19 and being stranded at least twice as airlines experienced countless delays and cancellations.

“I’m not saying that I’m never going to perform again,” she had said. “It’s not like: ‘She’s going to retire.’ I’m not in the business world. I’ve retired many times without ever calling it retirement.

“I’m just going to hang it up.”

An upcoming music festival in British Columbia has already announced plans to replace her.

The City of Burnaby said in a statement that American indie-folk band Fleet Foxes will take Sainte-Marie’s spot in the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival, which takes place Aug. 12.

The Cree artist and activist has roots in the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan and was adopted by an American family from Massachusetts.

In 1982, Sainte-Marie became the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar as co-writer of “Up Where We Belong” for the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

READ ALSO: Buffy Sainte-Marie isn’t retiring, she just can’t deal with air travel

READ ALSO: Q&A: Buffy Sainte-Marie talks activism and music ahead of Juno Awards honour