In 1978, the Canmore Folk Festival made Alberta music history with a simple mission: to create a community through a shared love of folk music. In addition to the annual festival, and over the years, we’ve brought musicians into our schools, and occasionally we’ve been able to host song writing workshops and special music programs. Emerging artists require even more support. Every aspect of musicianship today – developing songs, getting them heard, selling those songs and touring to perform those songs – is getting harder and harder. There are programs out there but if we are going to keep Folk music healthy we need to take our support to a higher level. We’re thrilled to announce the Canmore Artist Development Fund to provide the extra support our artists need. With your donation to the Fund, you’ll not only enjoy the fruits of this community, you will help sow the seeds that keep it strong. Every artist you love is entertaining you today because someone invested in them and gave them their shot. The Canmore Artist Development Fund is your opportunity to be that investment, to be that shot. With your donation, you can help guarantee another forty-two years of a community united in a shared love of folk music.

But how will we build this community?

The Canmore Folk Artist Development Fund! This is an endowed fund with the Edmonton Community Foundation. This fund will pay out a grant every year, which will be invested into the community, through youth scholarships, music in schools and artist development. Our goal is to create the artists of tomorrow that will be gracing the stages of not only our festival, but stages everywhere.

What have we done?

Youth Songwriting Workshops with The School of Song, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2019.
Choir Project and Concert – Coco Love Alcorn, 2017
Partnered to host a Ukelele Workshop with James Hill 2017
Songwriting Workshop with Michael Bernard Fitzgerald 2019
Music Workshop with Tim O’Brien 2019

How will we develop artists?

The music industry is always evolving and artists work so hard at the craft that often they miss out on opportunities in the development portion. Artists need to know not only how to pluck a banjo but also how to market themselves, craft a tour and how to get in touch with the right people! The Canmore Folk Festival is looking to grow our endowment fund and when the numbers make sense, we will be investing this money back into developing our emerging artists. This could mean so many things and will be based on community feedback and artists development needs. Workshops, help with marketing, whatever we can do to help grow the artists of tomorrow who will be playing our stage in the future.

How will we bring music into schools?

Along with presenting the much-loved Canmore Folk Festival every Heritage long weekend we continue to fulfill the long-term goal of the festival to “educate and provide opportunities for children to become familiar with folk music and the musical instruments of many countries”. Bringing folk musicians into our schools is a way for us to give back to the community and provide music educational opportunities that would not otherwise exist in our community.

Through our endowment fund we will create a program that allows for a sustained, ongoing presence of internationally recognized artists into our community schools. To date we have brought artists in only as grants or funding has allowed. We want to create an ongoing, consistent program to ensure we create a passion for music in students through early and frequent engagement with amazing artists.

Previous Programs:

Steve Seskin and his anti-bulling program, 2006 Elizabeth Rummel School
Holly Arntzen’s Voices with Nature program, 2007 Elizabeth Rummel School
James Gordon’s Rhyme Capsule project. 2008 Lawrence Grassi Middle School
Celso Machado 2014 Elizabeth Rummel, Lawrence Grassi.

Our Lady of the Snows and Exshaw School Dan Zanes 2016 partnership with Banff Centre at Our Lady of the Snows De Temps Antan 2017 partnership with Banff Centre at Our Lady of the Snows

Who will the scholarship fund support?

Another Canmore Folk Festvial initiative is to offer four scholarships to high school students showing an aptitude in music (three smaller ones for a student in each of grade 10, 11 and 12) and one larger scholarship to a student going on to study music at a post-secondary institution. Our free Pancake Breakfast is our annual fundraiser for the scholarship fund. When we can, we present recipients of the award at the Pancake breakfast as part of the entertainment for the event. Past winners who have gone on to be showcased at the Pancake Breakfast are Alysse Ernewein and Abbey Rodeo.

The three Canmore Folk Festival Scholarships began in the fall of 2010 and increased the amount in 2013 (from $100 to $150 each).

In the spring of 2013, the Canmore Folk Festival took over the Canmore Jam Fund from Susan Balharry, who managed the fund and Hugh Hancock, who was a founding member of the fund committee. Each year there is roughly $1000 given (or two $500) to a student (or two ) who is/are continuing on to a post-secondary institution in music.

Our goal is to create a long-term sustainable funding mechanism for these scholarships to ensure that they can carry in perpetuity… All we need is you! By supporting the Canmore Artist Development Fund you’ll be supporting artist development, music in schools, and music scholarships. Invest in your favourite future artist today!

Help keep folk music strong by Donating