In terms of programming, the festival has long had a practice of presenting a strong component of francophone artists (both regional and touring acts). An absolute minimum of 20% of the artist roster is to have a significant amount of material in French, however this number is often higher. The festival has a reputation for being a place where English speaking audiences are exposed to, and gain some understanding of francophone music.
In the past the festival has had a programming policy of presenting an absolute minimum of 15% Indigenous artists, however this number was often higher. Recently this 'minimum quota' has been raised to 20%, but again may often be higher. NLFB consistently maintains representation from Indigenous communities on its Board of Directors, on its Artistic Committee and on other Board-led committees.