Tuesday, October 19, 2010

OCFF Conference

I had a most excellent time at the annual conference of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF) this past weekend in Ottawa. I attended some interesting panels and meetings – including State of the Folk Nation, at which a recent PhD in ethnomusicology was totally unconvincing in his theories about what folk music is – and heard a lot of great music from both young performers I was experiencing for the first time and veteran artists I’ve been listening to for decades. It was also a wonderful opportunity to see some old friends and make some new ones.
It was an honour for me to be one of the conference’s mentors. As a mentor, I spent time working with several promising artists whose paths in folk music I look forward to following in the years to come.

Congratulations to Paul Mills, OCFF’s retiring president and Executive Director Peter MacDonald, along with the other board members, staff, and volunteers, for a superbly-organized event.

Speaking of old friends, I was very happy to see William (Grit) Laskin receive the Estelle Klein Award. Named for the visionary artistic director of the Mariposa Folk Festival in the 1960s and ‘70s, the award is the OCFF’s annual recognition of lifetime achievement and Grit is a most-worthy recipient.

Andy Frank of Roots Music Canada did an excellent job of putting together this video tribute to Grit on the occasion of his receiving the Estelle Klein Award.

--Mike Regenstreif

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