Miramichi Folksong Festival

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Miramichi Folksong Festival
Genre Roots, folk
Dates August
Location(s) Miramichi, New Brunswick
Canada Canada
Years active 1958 – present
Founded by Louise Manny

The Miramichi Folksong Festival, is the oldest folk music festival in Canada. It is held annually in Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada. It was established by Louise Manny in response to a request from Lord Beaverbrook that she document the traditional songs of his boyhood home. It is the longest continuous event of its kind in Canada and one of the longest in North America. The first festival was held in September 1958 at the Beaverbrook Town Hall and Theatre in Newcastle, New Brunswick. The festival is still held at this location, now in August of each year.[1][2]

Although the festival now is an important draw for local tourism, and features some mainstream talent, the original and primary purpose of the festival is to preserve local culture; thus, highlights of the festival include many amateur, often elderly, local performers.

Traditional lyrics and music highlighted by the festival have been preserved in the 1968 book Songs of Miramichi and in several recordings, including a 1962 Folkways Records album produced by Louise Manny.[3][4]

Allan Kelly (September 23, 1903- October 1, 2008) was one of the most popular singers and ardent supporters of the Festival. One of his earliest performances, The Petit Moine, is recorded on the 1962 album.

Raymond and Frank Estey, brothers from Sevogle N.B, sang each year. Afterword, the Esteys entertained the crowd by telling their famous ghost stories.


  1. ^ Miramichi Folksong Festival
  2. ^ Butler, Susan (June 1986). "The Miramichi folksong festival". Canadian Folk Music Bulletin. 20 (2): 25–26. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  3. ^ Manny, Louise; Wilson, James Reginald (1968). Songs of Miramichi. Fredericton, NB: Brunswick Press. 
  4. ^ "Folksongs of the Miramichi: Lumber and River Songs from the Miramichi Folksong Festival, Newcastle, New Brunswick". Folkways Records. 1962. Retrieved 2012-02-20. The ten songs in this album represent a mere morsel of the wealth of our folk songs. They were recorded during the actual festival of 1959, which was extended to four evenings instead of the usual three, in order to aid the Escuminac Disaster Fund. About 25 traditional singers took part in this festival and contributed, in all, nearly a hundred songs 

Further reading[edit]

Underhill, Doug (1999). "Miramichi Folksong Festival: A living museum" in Miramichi Tales - Tall & True. Saint John, NB. Neptune Publishing Company, pp. 76–85.