What a weekend in Mississauga at the OCFF – Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (soon to be renamed FMO – Folk Music Ontario) conference! The Art Beat program I participated in was a hoot and ended with 40 grade three kids smothering me with hugs.
Art Beat program at St. Valentine’s school in Mississauga
I got to see lots of old friends and cheer them on while they blew showcase rooms away with their talents. I also got some long-awaited face time with folks I had only met online – I love the three dimensional connection. The panels I attended were informative and inspiring. I even got to play a few late-night showcases of my own.
One of my favourite events at the conference is the “play a cover song from a fellow artist” song swap, which this year took place around a real burning fire! It’s just another one of the ways the people in this community support and champion each other. There was much toasting to the successes of our peers, including a moving tribute and subsequent speech (and singalong!) honouring Arthur McGregor of the Ottawa Folklore Centre – a fixture in my hometown and a big part of my life as a young folkie.
Singing Jon Brooks’ “There is Only Love” with Amy Campbell at the song swap campfire.
photo by Tricia Brubacher.
I was also elected to the board of directors of the newly-named Folk Music Ontario, which is a humbling honour. I hope to serve you well and I look forward to working with such a highly-esteemed team.
Thanks to my ever-patient roomie, Andrea Simms-Karp, a gorgeous singer-songwriter in her own right. To Frank and Alex for rides, to Christa Couture, Lindsay May, and Jim Dorie for showcases, to everyone who approached me with offerings of fresh fruit when I was fading – Kelly Ambrose, Joanna Mills, Kev Corbett, James Gordon – and to my dear friends at Borealis Records for inviting me to join in their rollicking Hootenanny on Saturday night. It’s an absolute pleasure to be part of this grand community.