03/17/2012 11:09 EDT | Updated 05/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Music students in Montreal mobilize against tuition hikes with marathon rally

MONTREAL - A musical marathon is underway in Montreal to support students contesting post-secondary tuition hikes.

The showcase that began at 8 p.m. Friday night is organized by the Mouvement de mobilisation des etudiants en musique, an activist group for music students.

More than 175 artists, including the political humour group Les Zapartistes, are expected to take the stage until midnight at the L'Astral concert hall.

The event marks a new approach to win public support for the students' cause outside of the standard marches and demonstrations.

The music students argue that tuition hikes of $1,625 over five years in Quebec will limit access to education, causing a decline in culture.

They stress having a degree in music — or in any of the arts — in no way guarantees a lucrative position.

In Quebec, the average income for artists is 25 per cent lower than for the average of other workers, they say.