MARIPOSA POPULAR FOUNDATION
The Mariposa Folk Foundation will induct Gordon Lightfoot into its Hall of Fame at this year’s festival, July 8-10, at Tudhope Park in Orillia.
“Over the past 62 years, the number of world-class artists who have graced our stage is truly exceptional,” said foundation president Pam Carter. “Among these, however, Gordon Lightfoot stands out for his unique contribution and commitment. Is his entrenchment late? Of course it is. And the foundation couldn’t be more honored to celebrate our connection to Gordon at this year’s festival.
“You take care of your home – and the Mariposa Folk Festival feels like coming home to me,” said Gordon Lightfoot, Orillia native and music legend. “On stage in Mariposa with the sun setting over Tudhope Park, it’s magical – always has been, always will be.”
A special live, pre-recorded tribute to Lightfoot will take place on the evening of Sunday, July 10 on Mariposa’s Main Stage to commemorate Hall of Fame induction.
Gordon Lightfoot recalled, with a smile, how he and his then-singing partner Terry Whelan were turned down by the first Mariposa Folk Festival in 1961.
“We were hometown boys,” he said, “but they said we sounded too much like the Everly Brothers. In fact, we took that as a compliment.
The following year, however, Gordon was taken on a solo job and joined Oscar Brand, the Travellers, and Ian and Sylvia at the Lions Oval in Orillia.
In 1964, at Maple Leaf Stadium in downtown Toronto, Gordon found himself on stage with Mississippi folk-blues legends John Hurt and the Reverend Gary Davis. An archival recording of this historic event has Lightfoot presenting his brilliant new song, Early morning rainand is featured in a recent Mariposa Virtual Stage video hosted by Shelagh Rogers.
The festival moved north of Brampton for the next few years to Innis Lake. Lightfoot shared the headliner with Pete Seeger, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. As her career began to take off, Mariposa provided an annual venue to showcase new songs and albums.
After a nomadic journey around Ontario, the festival finally returned to Orillia in 2000. It wasn’t even certain that Mariposa would survive, let alone regain its past glory. The organizers have announced that the local hero will headline Sunday night. Immediately, hundreds of tickets were sold and the question whether there would be a successful festival was raised. Along with his backup band of Terry Clements and Rick Haynes, Lightfoot delivered a spellbinding performance, giving the outdoor audience a taste of his hits and beloved songs.
“Mariposa’s return to Orillia and our blossoming success ever since simply couldn’t have happened without the support of Gordon Lightfoot,” said Carter. “When the foundation was most vulnerable, he stepped in and made a difference.”
The three-day Mariposa Folk Festival (July 8-10, Tudhope Park, Orillia) features more than 10 stages of the best folk music, along with presentations of stories, dance and crafts. All categories of tickets are on sale. Children 12 and under are admitted free. The festival offers special rates for youth and young adults. More information can be found at mariposafolk.com.