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 we’ve been able to host song writing workshops and special projects. Emerging artists require support in order to develop into the artists you might see performing at your favorite venue or festival. 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 created 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-six 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, 2023.
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
Mentorship Project with Mentors: Steve Dawson and the Henhouse Allstar, Ndidi O, Julian Taylor, Dawn Pemberton, Terra Lightfoot and Mentees: The Cave Arcade, Mari Rosehill, Seth Anderson, Lori Reid, and Scott Diehl 2021
Songwriting Workshop with Danny Michel 2022
Community Concert with Danny Michel and song contest winners Irene Poole, Scott Diehl, Kyle Pullan, Ellen Braun, and Mari Rosehill 2022
Stage Craft Mentorship with Cara Luft of the Small Glories 2023
How to Work with a Sound Tech Mentorship with Ben Nixon 2023
Connecting with your Audience Mentorship with Harley Kimbro Lewis 2023
Community Concert with Harley Kimbro Lewis, Rhonda Shippy, Noah Isaacc, The Cave Arcade and students from the CCHS Youth Mentorship Project 2023

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 (ERS)
Holly Arntzen’s Voices with Nature program, 2007 Elizabeth Rummel School
James Gordon’s Rhyme Capsule 2008 Lawrence Grassi Middle School (LGMS)
Celso Machado 2014 ERS, LGMS, Our Lady of the Snows (OLS) and Exshaw School
Dan Zanes 2016 partnership with Banff Centre at OLS
De Temps Antan 2017 partnership with Banff Centre at OLS
Summer Fun with The Mammal, LGMS 2018
Youth Mentorship Project Canmore Collegiate High School 2023

Who will the scholarship fund support?

Another Canmore Folk Festival 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.  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