Mariposa Folk Festival

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Mariposa Folk Festival is a music festival founded in 1961 in Orillia, Ontario. It was held in Orillia for three years before being banned because of disturbances by festival-goers.[1] After being held in various places in Ontario for a few decades, it returned to Orillia in 2000. Ruth Jones, her husband Dr. Crawford Jones, brother David Major and Pete McGarvey organized the first Mariposa Folk Festival in August 1961. The inaugural event, covered by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, featured all Canadian performers. The festival grew in popularity, size and rowdiness until the popularity of the 1963 festival (with over 8,000 advance tickets sold), and the lack of sufficient security, led to a backlash from town locals.[2][3] The city of Orillia secured a court injunction to prevent the festival from continuing in the town limits.[4] The first festival held in the Toronto area, in 1964, was at Maple Leaf Stadium. The subsequent three festivals were held at Innis Lake in Caledon, northwest of the city. In the 1970s it was held on the Toronto Islands before shifting to Harbourfront (Toronto) and Bathurst Street and later Molson Park in Barrie. In 2000, the Mariposa Folk Festival was invited back to Orillia by city councilors Tim Lauer and Don Evans. The festival continues to be held in Orillia.

Festival timeline[edit]

The Mariposa Folk Festival has been held in these Ontario locations with these artistic directors:[1]

  • 1961 – 64, Oval Park, Orillia; Ted Schaefer
  • 1964, Maple Leaf Stadium, Toronto
  • 1965 – 67, Innis Lake, Caledon
  • 1968 – 79, Centre Island, Toronto
  • 1980 – 81, no festival
  • 1982, Harbourfront, Toronto
  • 1984 – 91, Molson Park, Barrie
  • 1992 – Ontario Place, Toronto
  • 1993 – 1995, Olympic Island & Downtown, Toronto
  • 1996, Annie Williams Park, Bracebridge, and Victoria Park, Cobourg[5]
  • 1997, Annie Williams Park, Bracebridge
  • 1999, Parkdale, Toronto
  • 2000 – present, Tudhope Park, Orillia

Artistic directors:

In addition, over the years there have been some alternative concerts and festivals, splinter groups, sub-festivals, and spin-offs,[1] such as Mariposa-in-the-City in Toronto in 2000.[6]

50th anniversary[edit]

In 2010, Mariposa celebrated its 50th festival by fielding a lineup of classic Mariposa artists and young developing talent. Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan, Ian and Sylvia, and The Whiteley Brothers took the main stage on the festival's final day.[7] Three new performers passed an audition to perform via the "up and coming showcase" program.[8] The 2010 edition also featured Jason Collett and Serena Ryder, who headlined the mainstage on Friday and Saturday respectively.[9]

To mark the 50th anniversary of the festival, York University's Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections launched an online exhibit highlighting a selection of archival material from the 1960s and 1970s.[10] York acquired the Mariposa Folk Fest archives, which includes sound recordings and publicity documents, in 2007.[11]


In 1977, editors Bill Usher and Linda Page-Harpa published an anthology in celebration of the festival titled "For what time I am in this world" : stories from Mariposa.[12]

In 2013, Sija Tsai published a doctoral thesis on the history of the festival, titled Mariposa Folk Festival: The Sounds, Sights, and Costs of a Fifty-Year Road Trip.[13]

In 2017, Michael Hill, the artistic director and the vice-president of Mariposa, and an organizer with the festival since 2000, published a book on the festival.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Mariposa Folk Festival". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  2. ^ Marshall, Bill; Taylor, Gil (1963-08-10). "Guitars, Goatees and Girls -- Famous Folk and Folksong Fans Flock for Festival Fun and Frolic for Third Time TO Mariposa". Toronto Daily Star. p. 19.
  3. ^ Marshall, Bill; Taylor, Gil (1963-08-12). "17,000 Paid To Enjoy Mariposa Show". p. 16.
  4. ^ Pape, P. Jeffrey (1963-12-12). "Curious Ethics [letter to the editor]". Toronto Daily Star. p. 6.
  5. ^ "DIGEST | Orillia Packet and Times". 2009-07-11. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  6. ^ "Tonight in T.O.", The Toronto Star, 22 June 2000
  7. ^ "Mariposa Looks Back at 50 Years of Folk Fest". 2010-07-06. Archived from the original on July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  8. ^ "Mariposa Folk Foundation | The Grande Dame of Folk Festivals". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  9. ^ "Mariposa Folk Festival rocks Orillia this weekend". 2010-07-08. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  10. ^ Walls, Janice (July 5, 2010). "Mariposa archives at York U reveal folk festival's small details and big performances". York University. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  11. ^ Marnoch, Keith (June 6, 2007). "York University acquires Mariposa Folk Fest archives". York University. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  12. ^ Usher, Bill; Page-Harpa, Linda (1977). "For what time I am in this world" : stories from Mariposa. P. Martin Associates.
  13. ^ Tsai, Sija (2013). Mariposa Folk Festival: The Sounds, Sights, and Costs of a Fifty-Year Road Trip (PDF). Toronto: York University.
  14. ^ "The Mariposa Folk Festival: A History".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°36′26″N 79°23′14″W / 44.6071°N 79.3872°W / 44.6071; -79.3872