Home Feature New Order of Folk award launched for Canadian Folk Music Awards

New Order of Folk award launched for Canadian Folk Music Awards

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CFMA pin.

In April, The Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) unveiled a new award called the Order of Folk, which recognizes multiple people across Canada who have dedicated their time and support to the folk music community.

During the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, Graham Lindsey, president of the CFMAs, inducted two recipients based in Ottawa, Chris White and Peter Bowie, by presenting them with a lapel pin. Chris is a long-time radio host with CKCU-FM and co-founded the Ottawa Folk Festival back in 1993, while Peter has acted as a board member and sponsor for the Ottawa Grassroots Festival and was a registered delegate of the Folk Music Ontario Conference. Both have significantly contributed to the Grassroots Festival since its early stages.

Chris expressed his surprise and gratitude for receiving the Order of Folk during the Grassroots Festival. He recounted all the online feedback he received from friends and family afterwards.

“Thank you to the Canadian Folk Music Awards organization for creating an opportunity for me to receive all kinds of warm wishes and positive vibes from people that I care about,” he said.

Graham said that Ottawa Grassroots was the first festival where inductees received the award.

“Inducting them into the Order of Folk really gave recognition to people who were involved in the creation of the festival that we were all there celebrating,” he said.

From left to right: Chris White, Graham Lindsey, Peter Bowie. Photo by Ryan Lindsey.

Graham explained that the award was created based off of the CFMA’s Unsung Hero Award, which is awarded to an individual who works “behind the scenes” and supports various festivals, folk clubs, and concerts. The Order of Folk allows more than one individual to be inducted for their contributions.

“This is sort of to recognize the hundreds and thousands of ‘unsung heroes’ in the country,” said Graham. “Recognizing one person for their contribution countrywide just felt like it was a little bit too narrow for us, because so many people create a vibrant community in every different community.”

There have also been six local inductees from St. John’s, Newfoundland, which included previous members of the CFMA board of directors, volunteers, music teachers, and producers within the folk music scene, he said.

“The whole purpose of the Order of Folk is that we are the ones administering it, but we want other organizations to be the ones who tell us who should be inducted in their area. It’s far more appropriate, I think, to have the judges be the people in the communities.”

While it’s not practical to have all the inductees join together at the next CFMA ceremony, Graham hopes that they can “empower” the organizations and presenters who nominate these individuals to distribute these awards and convey their thanks.

The 2024 CFMAs were hosted in St. John’s this past April. Next year’s awards ceremony will take place in Ottawa and celebrate its 20th anniversary.

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