Mariposa selects Spencer Shewen for Artistic Director

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ORILLIA ONTARIO – October 26, 2023, 10:00 am

The Mariposa Folk Foundation is pleased to announce that following a thorough search, Spencer Shewen has been hired as Artistic Director. Shewen replaces Liz Scott who recently stepped down after 7 successful years.

Mariposa Foundation President Pam Carter oversaw the Foundation board’s recruitment and interview process. “We were looking for someone who can continue to build on our vision for the future. It wasn’t enough to appreciate our history – although that was essential – we needed someone who can deliver on the Mariposa promise of being true to our roots for generations to come and we are confident that we found that person in Spencer,” said Carter.

Shewen is well respected, with a wealth of experience and a demonstrated history of success in supporting the Canadian live music scene. Since 2014, he has been the Artistic Director at the celebrated and fast-growing Riverfest Elora, a complementary role to his new one with Mariposa that he will maintain. Shewen also holds positions on the Board of Directors for the River and Sky Festival in Sudbury and the Elora Centre for the Arts. Previously, he has held seats on the Board Of Directors for the Halifax Pop Explosion, the Hillside Festival, worked as Artistic Director for Waterstock, curated the Fortnight Music series and acted as Label Manager for SunnyLane Records.

“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity and I am aware of the weight that this role represents and the importance of this festival to so many people,” said Spencer. “Mariposa holds a unique place in the Canadian live music landscape.” What can Mariposa patrons expect from their new Artistic Director? “Not only will we see many well-known Mariposa favourites but our patrons will also have the opportunity to discover their new favourite performers.”

Founded in 1961, the Mariposa Folk Festival is one of North America’s most iconic annual gatherings. Over the years the Main Stage – which was renamed this year in memory of hometown hero Gordon Lightfoot – has featured such artists as Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Buddy Guy, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez, Odetta, John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, Spirit of the West, The Barenaked Ladies, Serena Ryder, Blue Rodeo, Jason Isbell, Feist, and of course, Lightfoot himself. The two most recent Mariposa Folk Festivals sold out of weekend passes. The lineups for the 3-day Mariposa Folk Festival (July 5-7, 2024) include upwards of 60 acts performing on 10 stages of top folk-roots music, along with presentations of story, dance, and craft. Kids 12 & under are admitted free. The festival has special pricing for youth and young adults. Onsite RV and tent camping is available. Tickets for the 2024 edition are available now at the Mariposa website: