Mariposa Folk Festival 2020 Cancelled Due to Coronavirus

Mariposa Folk Festival 2020 Cancelled Due to Coronavirus

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Today, organizers of the storied Mariposa Folk Festival announced the cancellation of this year’s festival scheduled for July 3-5, 2020, due to the Coronavirus.

During the past many weeks, Mariposa Folk Foundation had been in regular communication with public health and other authorities, the festival community, artist managers, core organizing volunteers and members of the production team, and determined that cancellation is the only appropriate course of action.

The festival had planned to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year with one of the strongest lineups assembled in decades. It included a rare talent and true original loved and cherished by fans, John Prine, who sadly passed away due to COVID-19 on April 7th. Also on the bill were the iconic Mavis Staples, highly acclaimed Serena Ryder, Mandolin Orange, and dozens of other luminaries on the Canadian, North American and international folk music scenes.

In a statement issued to the media, the organization stated that its top priority is the health and safety of the audience, artists, volunteers and other supporters. It also stated that, even though the festival is still 2 ½ months away, organizers felt that the announcement should be made as early as possible to allow interested parties and ticketholders maximum time to plan accordingly. At its April 20th meeting, the City of Orillia Emergency Management Committee extended the restriction against such public gatherings within the municipality, and it now encompasses the weekend of Mariposa Folk Festival.

Mariposa is offering ticket purchasers a full refund, a deferral for 2021 festival tickets, or the option of donating ticket purchases back to the festival, a non-profit organization and a registered charity. Donations can also be made via Canada Helps.

The President of the Mariposa Folk Foundation and Festival Chair, Pam Carter, stated “It’s very disappointing that we’ll all miss Mariposa Folk Festival this summer, especially considering the incredible lineup and the record-setting early ticket sales, but we are already planning for a fantastic return on July 9-11, 2021”.

Artistic Director, Liz Scott, stated “It was exciting building this lineup of amazing musicians and of course it’s disheartening that we won’t be able to gather together to watch it all unfold. But when we do get back together in July 2021, everything will seem sweeter”.

Serena Ryder Joins the Mariposa Lineup

Serena Ryder Joins the Mariposa Lineup

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An already strong lineup for the 60th anniversary of Mariposa Folk Festival got a big boost today with the addition of multiple Juno Award-winner, Serena Ryder.

Ryder is an acclaimed artist who has charted many times in the U.S. and Canada, and is known for her raw talent, song writing flair, electric live performances and stunning three-octave vocal range. Included among her collection of hit tunes are Got Your Number, What I Wouldn’t Do, Good Morning Starshine, Weak in the Knees and Stompa.

Commenting on Ryder’s upcoming appearance at Mariposa Folk Festival, Festival Artistic Director, Liz Scott, stated, “Serena Ryder is a versatile, powerful performer whose live shows range from dynamic, rocking pop tunes to sweet ballads and everything in between”.

Scott Added, “She made a handful of very memorable appearances at Mariposa Folk Festival very early in her career, and we are excited to welcome her back after a decade-long absence to help us celebrate Mariposa’s 60th anniversary”.

Mariposa Folk Festival previously announced that John Prine, Mavis Staples and Mandolin Orange will perform on the festival Main Stage. The festival has announced about 30, or just over half, of the artists on this year’s roster, so far. More exciting lineup announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

The three-day Mariposa Folk Festival takes place July 3-5, 2020, in Orillia, Ontario, on more than ten stages, featuring top folk-roots music presentation, along with presentations of story, dance and craft.

All ticket categories are on sale. Kids 12 & under are admitted free. There is special pricing for youth and young adults. Onsite RV and tent camping is available.

Mandolin Orange Added to the 60th Anniversary Lineup

Mandolin Orange Added to the 60th Anniversary Lineup

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Mariposa Folk Festival has announced the addition of Mandolin Orange to the 60th anniversary artistic lineup.

This Americana roots duo has helped to redefine the genre for a younger generation, blending storytelling with acoustic elements of bluegrass, folk and country, and amassing an impressive fan base through live shows and online streaming.

Festival Artistic Director, Liz Scott, says she “…first saw Mandolin Orange at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival five years ago when the husband and wife team was in their mid-twenties, and fell in love with their intimate harmonies and sweet-toned folk and bluegrass-tinged vibes.”

Scott added, “Now their songs are at the top of playlists everywhere and they’re loved by audiences of all ages, and they’re bringing their full band to Mariposa.”

Mariposa Folk Festival previously announced that John Prine and Mavis Staples will perform on the festival Main Stage, and has, so far, unveiled about 2/3 of the artists that will perform at the 60th anniversary festival. More exciting lineup announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

The three-day Mariposa Folk Festival takes place July 3-5, 2020, in Orillia, Ontario, on more than ten stages, and features top folk-roots music presentation, along with presentations of story, dance and craft.

All ticket categories are on sale. Kids 12 & under are admitted free. The festival has special pricing for youth and young adults. Onsite RV and tent camping is available.

The Iconic Mavis Staples Joins the Lineup

The Iconic Mavis Staples Joins the Lineup

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Mariposa Folk Festival has announced that the iconic R&B and gospel singer and civil rights activist, Mavis Staples, is joining the 60th anniversary festival lineup.

With a career spanning the social, political and musical eras of the past six decades, Mavis Staples’ distinctive voice has been sampled on recordings by some of the biggest selling artists and she has recorded with many celebrated peers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

According to Artistic Director, Liz Scott, “Mavis Staples is a true Americana treasure, a unique vocalist, a wonderful personality and a sheer delight in live performance. Festival goers are going to witness firsthand the power of Mavis and why she remains a rousing, relevant and
in-demand artist”.

Previously, Mariposa Folk Festival announced that the rare talent, true original and revered songwriter, John Prine, will join the Main Stage. Mariposa looks forward to announcing the addition of some celebrated Canadian artists in the coming weeks.

The three-day Mariposa Folk Festival takes place July 3-5, 2020, in Orillia, Ontario, on more than ten stages featuring top folk-roots music presentation, along with presentations of story, dance and craft.

All ticket categories are on sale. Kids 12 & under are admitted free. The festival has special pricing for youth and young adults. Onsite RV and tent camping is available.

John Prine Coming to Mariposa

John Prine Coming to Mariposa

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Mariposa Folk Festival is kicking-off the announcements for this summer’s lineup with a very big bang.

The rare talent, true original and revered songwriter, John Prine, has signed-on to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of Mariposa Folk Festival taking place July 3-5, 2020.

Prine is one of the most often requested artists by festival attendees and has been high on Mariposa’s artistic wish list for many years.

Artistic Director, Liz Scott, exclaimed, “Few artists have achieved the significance of this rare talent and true original, and his fans are absolutely devout. I am thrilled to welcome John Prine to the Mariposa Main Stage this year, on the heels of another award-winning, highly-acclaimed album.”

Mariposa Folk Foundation President and Festival Chair, Pam Carter, stated, “It’s our 60th anniversary festival, and presenting music icon John Prine is a wonderful way proclaim Mariposa’s storied past”. Carter added, “Our programming will also reflect Mariposa’s importance on Canada’s music scene as a contemporary folk festival”.

The three-day Mariposa Folk Festival features more than ten stages of top folk-roots music, along with presentations of story, dance and craft. All ticket categories are on sale. Kids 12 & under are admitted free. The festival has special pricing for youth and young adults. Onsite RV and tent camping is available.

Album Release Party at Mariposa Folk Festival

Album Release Party at Mariposa Folk Festival

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You’re invited to a party at Mariposa Folk Festival. What could be more fun than that? Join with VK & Legends of THE DEEP in the Mariposa Pub Tent on Sunday, July 7th, 10:45 p.m., to close-out the festival and celebrate the release of their new album, Charm, with fans, friends and family.

VK is the husband and wife team of Steve and Marni Van Kessel. Legends of THE DEEP is a talented collection of musicians, Jamey Heidman (bass), John Lebarr (guitar), Sean Murray (keys) and Roger Stanley (drums), who channel each other’s verve for truly great performances.

VK emerged from the local music scene about a decade ago and have been striking all the right notes ever since, putting out songs receiving critical attention, including from Blues and Roots Radio Worldwide, and building a loyal audience. With three albums to date, their own recording studio and indie label called 112 Records, VK has also been an important factor in the careers of other local musicians, helping them gain a foothold and build momentum.

The genesis of Charm was in 2018 when VK formed Legends of THE DEEP for the live release of their second album Terms & Conditions. This grouping of musicians proved providential and it inspired the bluesy, Americana folk-rock vibe of the new album. Recorded over the long winter months of 2019, the sound and style are rooted in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s tunes of their formative years, yet the themes and lyrics are relevant to folks two decades into the 21st century.

VK and the Legends of THE DEEP2The Mariposa Pub Tent show of VK & Legends of THE DEEP promises a truly special experience for fans of honest to goodness, well-crafted, lush-sounding Americana-folk-rock-blues music. Come to the show and help Steve, Marni and the guys celebrate this important milestone.

You can also see the whole group Saturday, July 6th, 12:00 pm, at the Downtown Stage, and you can see Steve and Marni as part of the Character Sketches Workshop on Sunday, July 7th, 3:50 pm, on the Barnfield Stage.

Half Moon Run Coming to Mariposa

Half Moon Run Coming to Mariposa

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Mariposa Folk Festival announced the addition of Half Moon Run to the artistic lineup today, bolstering an already impressive roster of performers for the iconic music festival taking place July 5-7, 2019, in Orillia, Ontario, on the shores of scenic Lake Couchiching.

The music of Half Moon Run is often described as dreamy alt-pop, bucolic alt-folk, and psychedelic indie rock. Armed with classical training and omnivorous influences, they build on cerebral, acrobatic arrangements and harmonies, lilting prettily in one moment then feral the next.

Mariposa’s Artistic Director, Liz Scott exclaimed that she is, “Super excited to add Montreal’s Half Moon Run to Friday night’s lineup. Their shows take audiences on a dreamy and layered alt-folk/rock journey. They are magnetic performers with a mesmerizing, world-class live show.”

Also on the festival bill are A Leverage for Mountains, Amélie et Les Singes Bleus, Birds of Chicago, Boogát, Brooke Palsson, Carole Pope, Christine Lavin, Còig, Colter Wall, Corin Raymond, Courtney Marie Andrews, Danny Michel, Dave Gunning, Deeps, Dennis Ellsworth, Digging Roots, É.T.É, Fred Penner, Freddy & Francine, Hawksley Workman, House Of David Gang, James Gray, Jason Isbell, Jennifer Castle, Jeremy Fisher, Jim Bryson, Julian Taylor Band, Justin Nozuka, Kalyna Rakel, Lee Harvey Osmond, Los Pachamama y Flor Amargo, Martin Sexton, Martyn Joseph, Melanie Brulée, My Son The Hurricane, Pondercast with Laurie Brown, Ralph, Scott Cook, Shakura S’Aida, Sharon and Bram & Friends, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Stars, Steve Poltz, Terra Lightfoot, The Burning Hell, The Confabulation, The Connors Brothers, The Doozies, The Ennis Sisters, The Free Label, The Layrite Boys, The Lifers, The LYNNeS, The Sorority, The Suitcase Junket, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Tony McManus and Julia Toaspern, Union Duke, VK & Legends of THE DEEP, and Ziggy Alberts.

The three-day Mariposa Folk Festival features more than ten stages of the best folk-roots music on the North American scene, along with story, dance and craft. Tickets are selling fast. Kids 12 & under admitted free. Special hot ticket pricing for youth and young adults.

Owen McBride to be Inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame

Owen McBride to be Inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame

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Owen-Head-shot.jpeg_2Born in Ireland, Owen McBride arrived in Canada in 1963. Literally, within a matter of days he was performing at folk clubs and coffee houses in Toronto’s booming folk scene. As luck would have it, Estelle Klein, the artistic director of the Mariposa Folk Festival, saw Owen perform and was immediately captivated by the young musician/storyteller. From 1964 until the mid-eighties, he was a perennial performer at Mariposa, experiencing its moves from Maple Leaf Stadium to Innis Lake to Toronto Island and even to Barrie Molson Park. Then, in 2010 Owen returned for the fiftieth anniversary of the festival and appeared again 2011, 2016 and 2017.

Owen also appeared at the other major festivals around North America. His rich voice, traditional repertoire and genial personality both on and off-stage helped to make him a key figure in North American folk circles. In 1970, the New York Times called his Irish and Scottish ballads at the Philadelphia Folk Festival “sentimental and boozy.” (In a good way, we assume!)

He is also an accomplished storyteller who has appeared on CBC and various story telling festivals in Canada and the USA. Owen’s contributions to folk music – and to Mariposa Folk Festival specifically – are reason enough to endorse his induction into the Mariposa Hall of Fame this year. Owen will be inducted along with The Travellers and Sharon, Lois and Bram.

The Travellers to be Inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame

The Travellers to be Inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame

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If you are a Canadian, you know our version of Woody Guthrie’s classic This Land is Your Land – where Vancouver Island, Bonavista and the Arctic Circle are cited instead of the New York Island, California and the Gulfstream waters. We can thank the Travellers for that national treasure of a song, which they altered and made into a genuine Canadian folk song (and a hit record.)

The Travellers grew out of folk singing sessions at Camp Naivelt, a Jewish socialist vacation community west of Brampton in the 1950s. Modeling themselves after Pete Seeger’s group The Weavers, the band had tremendous success in a nation that seemed reluctant to promote home-grown talent. Led over the years by banjo player Jerry Grey, the group has had many members come and go over the years. Sid Dolgay, one of the founders of the Mariposa Folk Festival, played the mandicello in the group for a number of years. Joe Hampson, husband of Sharon Hampson of Sharon, Lois and Bram fame, was another key member.

The group produced several popular records in the fifties and sixties and toured extensively across Canada. In 1962 they were part of a cultural exchange with the Soviet Union and toured parts of Russia. They played for Queen Elizabeth during her 1964 tour of Canada. In 1967 they played at Expo 67 in Montreal and in 1970 represented Canada  at Expo 70 in Osaka Japan. They entertained Canadian military units in Germany and Cypress and were equally at home on university campuses. The group made numerous radio and television appearances over the years on shows such as Haunted Studio, Pick the Stars, and had five television specials of their own. They received a Juno nomination for their children’s record Merry-Go-Round in 1980. In 200, a National Film Board documentary chronicled the band’s history.

When the Mariposa Folk Festival began in 1961, The Travellers were the headline act and they repeatedly appeared over the next several years: 1962, 1963, 1968, 1990, 1993, 1995, and of course in 2000 at the first festival back in Orillia in over 37 years. Over their long career, the group has sung about and promoted values related to labour solidarity, peace, civil rights and social justice – values also espoused by the Mariposa Folk Festival. Therefore it is fitting to finally see The Travellers inducted into the festival’s Hall of Fame in 2019 alongside Sharon, Lois and Bram and Owen McBride.

By Mike Hill

Tell Us Your Volunteer Story

Tell Us Your Volunteer Story

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42548115260_c32c316dd1_oThis year marks the 20th anniversary of Mariposa Folk Festival back in Orillia. To help mark the occasion, we are collecting interesting volunteer stories for possible inclusion at a special Volunteer Recognition Display.

If you have a good volunteer story, please tell it to us. If you have more than one, or even several, please tell them all, but please limit your stories to 250 words each. If you could accompany your story with a digital photo, that would be awesome. Make sure to include your full name, volunteer team or role, and the approximate year your story took place.

The stories will be curated, and the selected stories will be attributed to you and assembled in a Volunteer Memories Display during the Festival. Some of these stories may also be shared on our social media platforms.

By virtue of submitting a story, you are authorizing the Mariposa Folk Foundation to publish it. All those who submitted a story will be entered into a random draw for a $50 gift certificate.

Please submit your story by June 21st, 2019, but the sooner the better. All stories and photo attachments should be submitted to reception@mariposafolk.com. Please write “Volunteer Story” in the subject line.

We are sure there are lots of entertaining Mariposa volunteer stories to be told. Please tell us yours!

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Sharon, Lois and Bram to be Inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame

Sharon, Lois and Bram to be Inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame

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It began at Mariposa in the 1970s and it appears that it will be ending at the 2019 Festival in Orillia.Lois2

Sharon and Bram, two of Canada’s best-known troubadours, are retiring.

“Because it’s time,” said Bram Morrison. At an age well beyond the normal retirement age, the duo has finally decided that it’s time to pass the baton to younger musicians.

Sharon, Lois and Bram – this country’s best-known folk group “for families” – has had a remarkable career and lasting impact on Canadian culture. Over forty years ago the trio began touring Canada and the United States, sharing their wholesome and eclectic style of music with children, their parents and grandparents. They became a duo in 1999 when Lois, who passed away in 2015, retired from touring. By means of records, television shows and especially live concerts, the musicians spread their happy and positive gift of song to several generations. Sharon and Bram find that they are playing for multiple generations at their concerts: children, parents, grandparents and even occasional great-grandparents.

Their contribution to Canadian culture has not gone unnoticed. All three are members of the Order of Canada. They’ve received myriad awards and accolades, including Folk Music Canada’s Estelle Klein Award (named after the legendary artistic director of the Mariposa Folk Festival,) the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals, numerous television awards and even Honorary Doctorates from Mount Saint Vincent University. They have played key roles with UNICEF, were honoured by a breakfast with Bill and Hillary Clinton at the White House and even have a playground bearing their names in Toronto.

Sharon and Bram2Now the group will be honoured with induction in the Mariposa Hall of Fame this July at the Mariposa Folk Festival. Bram played the festival as a solo artist in 1966, 1973 and 1976. Sharon was a solo performer in 1963, 1965, 1976 and 1978. Sharon and Bram were part of Mariposa’s 50th anniversary roster in 2010 and Bram once again played as a solo performer in 2015. Both Lois and Sharon were key players in starting Folk Play, the children’s area at the festivals in the mid-seventies. All three were heavily involved in the spin-off Mariposa in the Schools program in the seventies and early eighties. Their influence on children (and parents) cannot be underestimated. It is axiomatic to say that they have touched thousands and thousands of lives in Canada with their positive messages and tuneful, eclectic brand of music.

As the duo of Sharon and Bram make their final musical tour, they will be ending it at Mariposa, where this incredible partnership started over forty years ago.

By Mike Hill

Tom Cochrane with Red Rider and Stars join the lineup

Tom Cochrane with Red Rider and Stars join the lineup

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Mariposa Folk Festival announced two big additions to the lineup today, bolstering a weighty and innovative artistic offering that is shaping up for the iconic festival taking place July 5-7, 2019, in Orillia, Ontario, on the shores of scenic Lake Couchiching.

Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, together, and on their separate musical paths, have made an indelible impression on the Canadian music scene, with anthemic songs, impressive musicianship and crowd-pleasing performances. Front man, Tom Cochrane, is also celebrated for his many civic and social contributions.

The six-person indie-rock, folk-pop group Stars is highly acclaimed for their exquisite live performances, legion of very loyal fans, and for earning a place as one of Canada’s most successful and beloved bands.

According to Artistic Director, Liz Scott, “Our stages have something for everyone. The Saturday night main stage closes out with Montreal indie sweethearts Stars, followed by award winning, singer-songwriter and humanitarian, Tom Cochrane with his band Red Rider for an inspired, high energy performance”. Scott added, “The Pub Tent stage also continues each night with an exciting mix of new discoveries and familiar names, concerts and collaborations.

Many more exciting lineup announcements will be made in the coming weeks. Previously announced are Jason Isbell, First Aid Kit, Amélie et Les Singes Bleus, Birds of Chicago, Carole Pope, Christine Lavin, Còig, Courtney Marie Andrews, Dave Gunning, Digging Roots, É.T.É, Fred Penner, Freddy & Francine, Hawksley Workman, House of David Gang, Jennifer Castle, Jeremy Fisher, Jim Bryson, Julian Taylor Band, Kalyna Rakel, Los Pachamama & Flor Amargo, Martin Sexton, Martyn Joseph, Melanie, My Son The Hurricane, Pondercast with Laurie Brown, Ralph, Scott Cook, Shakura S’Aida, Sharon and Bram, Steve Poltz, Terra Lightfoot, The Burning Hell, The Ennis Sisters, The Free Label, The Layrite Boys, The Lifers, The LYNNeS, The Sorority, The Suitcase Junket, Tony McManus and Julia Toaspern, Union Duke, and Ziggy Alberts.

The three-day Mariposa Folk Festival features more than ten stages of the best folk-roots music on the North American scene, along with story, dance and craft. All categories of ticket are now on sale. Kids 12 & under admitted free. Special hot ticket pricing for youth and young adults. Tent and RV camping available.

Jason Isbell is Mariposa Bound

Jason Isbell is Mariposa Bound

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Mariposa Folk Festival announced today that renowned Americana artist, Jason Isbell, will perform at this summer’s festival taking place July 5-7, 2019, in Orillia, Ontario, on the shores of scenic Lake Couchiching.

Isbell is a master singer/songwriter whose thoughtful, finely crafted compositions deal with hopes and fears of everyday people – blue-collar folk striving to escape the constraints of limited lives or accepting destiny.

In the past few years, Isbell has risen to the top of the Americana music scene, garnering four Grammy Awards, nine Americana Music Awards, and glowing critical acclaim.

According to Artistic Director, Liz Scott, “Jason Isbell is really hitting his stride. On top of numerous Grammy and Americana awards he had a song featured in A Star is Born, but the real proof he’s at the top of his game is in the listening of his honest, contemplative songs”

The three-day Mariposa Folk Festival features more than ten stages of the best folk-roots music on the North American scene, along with story, dance and craft. All categories of ticket are now on sale. Kids 12 & under admitted free. Special hot ticket pricing for youth and young adults. Tent and RV camping available.

Many more artistic announcements will be made in the coming weeks and months.

Alan Doyle – Mariposa Talks Interview

Alan Doyle – Mariposa Talks Interview

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In this interview, Alan Doyle discusses how the dynamics as a solo artist are so different from being the front man for the super group, Great Big Sea. He also talks about his influences and numerous other projects including his collaborations with Russell Crowe and other forays into the world of film and television.

Lance Anderson – Mariposa Talks Interview

Lance Anderson – Mariposa Talks Interview

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In this interview, musical arranger/director and legendary bluesman, Lance Anderson, discusses The Matchedash Parish, a dream team of 12 diverse musicians and singers he assembled with singer-songwriter phenomenon Matt Weidinger for a  special Mariposa Folk Festival appearance. This New Orleans-influenced gospel and soul group will perform their own unique arrangements, creating a great big show with a tent revival feel. It’s a festival finale not to be missed.

Free Festival App

Free Festival App

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Get the most out of your Mariposa experience. Download the festival app to your mobile device:

    • Create your own personal schedule
    • Get all of the artist details
    • Peruse the workshops and interactive and learning opportunities
    • Find your way around the festival site
    • Listen to the playlist to discover artists you will see at Mariposa
    • Connect to Mariposa’s social media platforms
    • Put the festival in your hand and carry it with you!

Available for free in the App Store (Apple) and the Google Play store (android). Search Mariposa Folk.

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We Are Recruiting for Candidates for the Mariposa Folk Foundation Board of Directors

We Are Recruiting for Candidates for the Mariposa Folk Foundation Board of Directors

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For nearly 60 years, the Mariposa Folk Festival has been an icon of Canada’s cultural scene. This all-inclusive showcase of Canada’s heritage, cultures and talents is owned and governed by the Mariposa Folk Foundation. The Foundation is led by 12 directors elected to three-year terms by the Foundation membership.

We are currently developing a roster of potential Board Directors for election at the next Annual General Meeting, which will take place in February.

The Foundation strives to maintain representation from the  Simcoe County area and from other parts of the Province of Ontario. Board members are expected to attend six board meetings per year. These meetings alternate between Orillia and Vaughan, Ontario.

Previous experience as a  Board Director would be a benefit. We are seeking qualified candidates who have a collaborative working style, and are specifically recruiting candidates with expertise in one or more of the following areas: finance, management, law, technology, marketing, merchandising, human resources, and event planning. Experience with the music industry is not required. The role of Board Director of the Mariposa Folk Foundation is an unpaid, volunteer position.

Should you wish to be considered, please send your current CV to officemanager@mariposafolk.com along with a covering message explaining why you would like to join the Mariposa Board.

Bonnie Dobson’s Song, “Morning Dew”, to be Inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame at Mariposa Folk Festival

Bonnie Dobson’s Song, “Morning Dew”, to be Inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame at Mariposa Folk Festival

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Bonnie Dobson’s anti-nuke protest ballad, Morning Dew, was inspired by the award-winning 1959 film “On the Beach,” based on Nevil Shute’s novel about the extinction of humankind in the aftermath of nuclear war.

At the height of Cold War tensions in 1961 Dobson, a folk singer, was performing in Los Angeles at the Ash Grove club. She had been deeply moved by “On the Beach,” and after discussing the film with friends, composed Morning Dew. “I had never written anything in my life…. this song just came out and really it was a kind of re-enactment of that film in a way where at the end there is nobody left…. apocalypse, that was what it was about.”

Morning Dew is a dialogue song between the sole surviving woman and man; she is naïvely in denial; he is the hopeless voice of doom. Radiation has turned the morning dew – yesterday’s life-giving water – into an annihilator. In the film, the Australian government issues suicide pills so people can hasten death; Dobson’s line “I thought I heard my baby cryin’ ‘mama’ / You’ll never hear your baby cry again” recalls the scene where the horrified young mother realizes she must give her infant a suicide pill. Dobson’s mournful descending melody effectively portrays the nuclear rainfall and humanity’s downward spiral.

1961bDobson performed Morning Dew, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, at the first Mariposa Festival in Orillia in 1961 then in New York City in 1962. A 1969 orchestral version was produced by Jack Richardson (The Guess Who’s producer).

From these folk roots Morning Dew metamorphosed into a powerful blues-rock protest anthem, with subsequent singers adding lyric variations. On his 1964 recording with Vince Martin, Fred Neil (composer of Everybody’s Talkin’) revised the opening line from “Take me for a walk in the morning dew” to “Walk me out in the morning dew.” Next Tim Rose on his 1967 Columbia single copied this and added a line. The Grateful Dead heard Rose’s version and in 1967 premiered their own elongated poignant cover, using electric instruments, at San Francisco’s “Human Be-In.” The song is now strongly identified with the Dead, appearing on several albums including “Cornell 5/8/77” (one of Billboard’s top 15 albums).

Numerous covers followed, notably Lulu’s gritty soul single paired with To Sir, With Love (No. 52 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in September 1968 and RPM’s No. 55). Jeff Beck recorded Morning Dew with Rod Stewart on “Truth” (No. 15 on Billboard’s album chart). The Allman Brothers and Nazareth followed in 1972, the latter also recording it in German as Morgentau in 1981. Blackfoot’s hit on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart in 1984 added the line “Thought I saw a flash in the sky this morning.” Some covers add “What they’ve been sayin’ all these years has come true.”

Canadian blues artists Long John Baldry and Serena Ryder have covered Morning Dew, as have acts from Spain, Germany, New Zealand and Ireland. It has been sung in Danish, and in French as “Maman, dis moi pourquoi.”

Dobson performed her song with Robert Plant at the Royal Festival Hall in 2013. On screen, Morning Dew features in “Long Strange Trip” about the Grateful Dead, and Robert Plant sings it in “The Banger Sisters.” The National performed it on Stephen Colbert’s television show in 2016.

In 2018 the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” advanced its Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight. Says Dobson about Morning Dew’s relevance today: “Actually I think that the song, if anything, is more of this time, of the present than it ever was then.”

Folk singer Bonnie Dobson was born in Toronto in 1940. Influenced by The Weavers, The Travellers, Pete Seeger and Paul Robeson, she was part of the 1960s’ urban folk movement, appearing often at US colleges and clubs, Toronto folk clubs and festivals, and on the CBC and BBC. She was rated by “Time Magazine” as second in popularity only to Joan Baez, and had hits with I Got Stung (1969) and Good Morning Rain (1970). She moved to London in 1969 and toured extensively in the UK and Europe until 1989 when she decided to return to university.  She studied Politics, Philosophy and history at Birkbeck College and ended up running the Faculty of Arts until 2007. In 2013 she returned to the music business, releasing the album Morning Dew.

About the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) honours and celebrates Canadian songwriters and those who have dedicated their lives to the legacy of music, and works to educate the public about these achievements. National and non-profit, the CSHF is guided by its own board of directors who comprise both Anglophone and Francophone music creators and publishers, as well as representation from the record industry. In December 2011, SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) acquired the CSHF. The Hall of Fame’s mandate aligns with SOCAN’s objectives as a songwriter and publisher membership-based organization. The CSHF continues to be run as a separate organization.

Best Lineup in Years

Best Lineup in Years

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Mariposa Folk Festival has announced the full 2018 lineup, and it’s a winner! On top of well-known artists like Walk Off The Earth, Alan Doyle, Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets, Larkin Poe, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Bahamas, the festival will feature 50 plus of the best folk-roots artists on the North American and international music scenes. The finale will be a fabulous, great big show called The Matchedash Parish, a dream team of celebrated musicians and singers.

Mariposa Folk Festival takes place July 6th, 7th and 8th, 2018, in beautiful Tudhope Park in Orillia, Ontario, Canada, on the shores of scenic Lake Couchiching.

According to Artistic Director, Liz Scott, “We’ve got an exciting mix of music, from worldwide sensations like Walk Off the Earth to Canadian treasures like Valdy to international stars like Nick Lowe and right back to the family area with puppet shows and hula hoop workshops and karaoke.” Scott added, “We’re staying true to our roots while providing a balanced and fun-filled folk festival with a strong focus on community. Lots of stages and interactive activities in a beautiful park. It’s a great way to spend a summer weekend!”.

The 3-day Mariposa Folk Festival will have song, story, dance and craft on more than ten stages. Tent and RV camping is available on the festival site. Special pricing for youth and young adults. Kids 12 & under admitted free.

According to Festival Chair, Pam Carter, “It’s shaping up to be one of the best editions of Mariposa Folk Festival in decades. Ticket sales are very robust, and we haven’t even announced all of our programming yet.” Carter hinted at an upcoming announcement about an important figure in Canadian folk music history, stating “Soon we will share some exciting news about a prestigious event planned for the Main Stage”.

Here is the full lineup for Mariposa Folk Festival 2018 in alphabetical order:

A.J. Croce, Abigail Lapell, Alan Doyle, Alfie Smith & Nicole Christian, Angelique Francis, Angie Nussey, Anh Phung, Ariko, Bahamas, Bill & Joel Plaskett, Birds of Bellwoods, Blind Boy Paxton, Bryden Gwiss Kiwenzie, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Cécile,
Doo-Kingué, Danny Michel, Dave Penny, Defying Gravity: A Tribute to Jesse Winchester, Earle and Coffin, Élage Diouf, Fast Romantics, Fitzgerald Sisters, Fred Eaglesmith, Fränder, Gareth Pearson, Good Enough Live Karaoke, Good Lovelies, Hat Fitz & Cara, Ilaria Graziano & Francesco Forni, Iskwé, Jenie Thai, Kevin Breit, Land Of Talk, Larkin Poe, Leif Vollebekk, Lisa LeBlanc, Madison Galloway, Mark Reeves, Molly Tuttle, Mélisande [électrotrad], Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets, Port Cities, Shreem, Skye Wallace, Slocan Ramblers, Tami Neilson, The Free Label, The Heavyweights Brass Band, The Kubasonics, The Matchedash Parish, The Wanted, The Western Swing Authority, Treasa Levasseur, Valdy, Walk Off The Earth, Wendell Ferguson, Zachary Lucky.

Union Duke: A Mariposa Showcase Story

Union Duke: A Mariposa Showcase Story

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On April 15th, 2018, 1:00-4:00 p.m., at the Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn & Conference Centre, 400 Memorial Ave in Orillia., the Mariposa Folk Festival is hosting its annual Mariposa Showcase, this year with eight emerging bands and performers auditioning for three performance spots at the summer Festival.

Mariposa Showcase has been a launching pad for some great talent. This includes Union Duke, a Toronto based folk quintet that melds indie rock vibes with the absolute best parts of bluegrass and country. In 2014, they ‘showcased’ and ended up on a Mariposa stage. It was a great opportunity for exposure and a chance to perform for one of the best and biggest crowds you can find!

Union Duke recently wrote to Mariposa Folk Festival to say that Mariposa Showcase changed their careers, calling it a “huge milestone”. Mariposa was the biggest venue they had ever played. Their booking agent, Jim McDonald, who was in the audience says, “In a way we owe it to Mariposa for setting up years of work for us.”

According to McDonald, following their first moment in the Mariposa spotlight Union Duke has maintained a positive and ongoing relationship with the Festival. This allowed them to return to the Mariposa stage, bigger and more popular than ever! McDonald went on to explain that auditioning live at Mariposa Showcase was a blessing because the band’s energy and charm shines through in their live performances.

Union Duke has a jam-packed touring schedule across Canada this summer. Check out their show listings at unionduke.com.

Here’s to hoping that more artists like Union Duke get their careers launched at Mariposa Showcase 2018!

Byline: Jaina Kelley, guest blogger and Lakehead University student