THE OCFF TURNS 25! Last year, during the 2011 conference, we celebrated a major milestone – the 25th annual conference of our organization. It was at that first community gathering back in 1986 that plans were set in motion to incorporate as a not-forprofit and use a name selected by those in attendance. By the time of the second annual conference, incorporation was nearly finished and shortly afterwards, the OCFF got its letters patent dated November 16, 1987. So, the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals celebrates its 25th birthday this fall and the 26th annual conference will be the location for the party! The conference is shaping up nicely, thanks to the support of our funders, sponsors and partners and the time given by members of the Conference Advisory Group, along with regular and eager input from your Board of Directors. As many of you already know, we now have online registration for the conference, courtesy of a very generous sponsorship by Ticketpro. Visit the OCFF website (www.ocff.ca) to click on the link to 2012 conference registration and join the record number of delegates who have registered to date! Ticketpro has also generously sponsored the OCFF Youth Program activities year-round for the next few years. It’s great to be able to plan more than one year ahead, and to help ensure that we have a program in place to facilitate the awarding of the OCFF Taylor Mitchell Bursary to one youth program participant. For the second year in a row, Bob Wiseman has also donated his time and expertise to produce one song for the recipient of the OCFF Taylor Mitchell Bursary! Mentors in the program this year, including David Essig, The Good Lovelies and Stephen Fearing, will also get a showcase opportunity to remind everyone of what they can do in a 15-minute set! The Songs From the Heart showcase will be back this year – with a twist. Due to some logistical issues last year, the determination of the awards was delayed, so most of the winners were unable to attend the conference to play their
songs for you. This year, we will feature both the 2012 and the 2011 SFTH winners. We continue to thank Galaxie as much as possible for their ongoing support of this awards program. During our 25th birthday celebrations we will also honour the guitar as a key component of much of the music we enjoy in the folk community. It’s about time we honoured not only the players and the songwriters, but also the tools they use to express themselves. We’ll have a display of some fine instruments and we’re working on sessions where you can meet some luthiers and learn about their craft. The Six String Nation will be in attendance taking pictures of the delegates with Voyageur, the guitar that launched a thousand stories about Canada and its rich history. Six String Nation founder Jowi Taylor will be a keynote speaker this year as well. On a related note, Wolfelele will be back with their ukulele-building workshop – it’s always a big hit. Music workshops this year will focus on two themes: the guitar in one and traditional music as it relates to “world music” influences in the other. Brad McEwen from the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music is curator for the trad workshop after such a successful first effort in 2011. Michael (A Man Called) Wry-
craft is back at the conference as a session leader with a look at the visuals that surround the great music our community produces. We spend a lot of money, time and energy on the music, but do we take enough care with the packaging of it – whether a CD or website or show poster? We’re working on a plan to bring together the personalities who make community radio happen – the DJs, producers, music directors and other (mostly) volunteers who work hard to keep the terrestrial airwaves vibrant and who are making new waves with community radio broadcast over the Internet.You will see a lot of community arts leaders at the conference this year – people who run arts service organizations at the provincial and national levels along with many municipal event producers and folks from fairs and exhibitions. Let’s show them a great time as they get to know more about the OCFF community! There is so much more in the works – the Gala Dinner, the Estelle Klein Award presentation, the Borealis Reception, a new ArtsCan Circle event and as always, some of the best jamming outside the festival circuit itself! Please join us as we celebrate a quarter-century of shared experiences, fond memories and lots of eager forward thinking!
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