by Doris Folkens
The Folk Music Ontario Conference is an annual event that brings together people from around the world to celebrate Canada’s folk music industry. This includes artists, concert promoters/presenters, media, festival artistic directors, music publicists, music industry organizations, and anyone else involved or interested in folk music.
At the 2019 conference, local Guelph musicians hosted a private showcase (in a hotel room) for the first time, taking the opportunity to promote our own talent on a national/international stage. Guelph is home to a number of accomplished and award-winning musicians, and this venue promoted ours as a music city. The room was decorated with Guelph-related swag: Hillside Festival posters, “I heart downtown Guelph” T-shirts, vintage books, and toques. Thanks to some wonderful local businesses, we were able to offer our patrons complimentary beverages (from Laza Catering and Wellington Brewery), as well as the hugely popular “Honorary Guelphite” buttons (donated by Silence), and we did our part as responsible Guelph citizens by setting up recycle bins up and down the hallway of the hotel.
Jane, Tannis and Laura. Photo credit: Shari Campbell
When the performances of our local artists ended each evening, the Guelph room was opened up for “community building jamming”. This became a warm welcoming space for everyone, especially the youth participants at the conference.
Many thanks to the supporters and sponsors who helped make this Guelph showcase possible with their generous financial and/or in-kind contributions: Ampersand, Patti Broughton, Downtown Guelph Business Association, Guelph Arts Council, Guelph Music, Hillside Festival, Laza Catering, The Neighbourhood Group, Silence, and Wellington Brewery.
Late Nites with Guelphites showcase lineup:
James Gordon – James presented a selection of songs from his latest project- The Climate Emergency Musical. The packed room was singing along.
Katherine Wheatley- Multi-award winning and having extensively toured across Canada, US and Europe, Katherine performed a selection of songs from her three highly acclaimed albums.
Gathering Sparks- This duo (Jane Lewis and Eve Goldberg) won this year’s Folk Music Ontario “Songs from the Heart” award in the Singer/Songwriter category. They performed songs from their new album “All That’s Real”.
Doris Folkens- Her debut 2018 album is based on family lore. A recipient of a “Songs from the Heart” award in 2017.
Banjo Mechanics – This instrumental banjo duo (Ian Pattison and Lewis Melville) performed to promote Guelph’s “Banjofest”- a popular festival in March, spotlighting an eclectic mix of banjo music.
Laura Bird- The most recent highly accomplished songstress to relocate to Guelph, Laura has two critically acclaimed albums, and is currently working on a third.
Tragedy Ann- another “Songs From the Heart” (2018) award winning duo from Guelph, Liv Cazzola and Braden Phalen just keep getting better at making compelling music.
The Lifers- Guelph sisters duo, Liv and Anita Cazzola, are making marks on the folk scene nationally, and were nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2018.
Tannis Slimmon- She’s won “Contemporary Vocalist of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in the past, and many other awards and nominations. She’s a solo artist, as well as being part of musical groups.
The Eclectic Vinyl Orchestra- You can’t help but move to this high-energy big-band style music- original and jazz and swing standards, and songs from the 20’s and 30’s.