- Education & Outreach
Artistic Achievement Award
The Winnipeg Folk Festival Artistic Achievement Award recognizes outstanding artistic achievement by folk musicians. The award is presented annually to an artist who has performed at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, who has demonstrated musical excellence, and who has contributed at an exceptional level to the field of folk music and to the community as a whole.
May 24, 2013 – Ani DiFranco to receive the 2013 Artistic Achievement Award
Ani DiFranco hardly needs an introduction to the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Since her first appearance at the Festival in 1992, she has left an undeniable impression on our audience with her unique brand of sociopolitically charged folk songs. Not only is she a renowned lyricist, she is also well known for her trademark staccato style of guitar playing and her highly energetic live performances.
In addition to being a talented musician she is also a pioneer in the music world as one of the first artists to own and operate her own record label, Righteous Babe Records. In this capacity she has fostered other emerging artists and helped to develop many careers including fellow Winnipeg Folk Festival alumni Utah Phillips, Andrew Bird and Toshi Reagon. Always an entrepreneur, she also saved a church from the wrecking ball in Buffalo, New York, turning it into a state-of-the-art multi-purpose venue called “Babeville.”
She continues to collaborate and has never stopped evolving, experimenting and testing the limits of what can be said and sung. Her lifelong community of co-conspirators includes everyone from Pete Seeger and Utah Phillips to a new generation of twenty-something singer-songwriters that grew up with her songs and shows—and the motley crew of folks like Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Maceo Parker, Dr. John, Arto Lindsay, Chuck D, the Buffalo Philharmonic, Gillian Welch, Cyndi Lauper and Burmese activist and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Today she continues to pack halls, and after more than 20 years of travelling to all corners of the globe and 20 albums to her credit, she has found a renewed intensity that makes her as relevant and engaging today as she was in 1990 when that young woman with a shaved head and a guitar got up on stage and made everyone stand up and take notice.
The 2013 Artistic Achievement Award will be presented to Ani DiFranco on November 22, 2013, at Folk Festival in the City, the Festival’s annual fundraiser in support of education and outreach. The event takes place at The Fairmont Winnipeg and includes a gala dinner, prize auction, and performance by DiFranco.
November 8, 2012 – Sarah Harmer receives the 2012 Artistic Achievement Award
Born and raised in Burlington, Ontario, Sarah Harmer, began her career in music at the age of 17 when she was invited to join alt-country band, The Saddletramps. Since her early start, Harmer has become one of Canada’s premier solo artists, with platinum selling albums, two Juno Award wins and a coveted Polaris Music Prize nomination. She has performed at the Winnipeg Folk Festival three times throughout her solo career 2001, 2004, 2010. On top of all her musical successes, Harmer lends her time and voice to advocate for environmental and civil liberties issues.
Harmer is the co-founder of Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL), an organization established in 2005 that strives to protect the Niagara Escarpment from a proposed gravel development. Last year, Harmer participated in the National Parks Project, visiting British Columbia’s Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site with Bry Webb, Jim Guthrie and filmmaker Scott Smith to raise awareness of the splendor and importance of Canada’s national parks. Earlier in 2012, Harmer travelled with the Nobel Women’s Delegation Initiative to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala where she met with human rights defenders to learn about and promote their work for peace.
Past Artistic Achievement Award Recipients:
- 2012 Sarah Harmer
- 2011: Oscar Brand
- 2010: Leon Redbone
- 2009 Billy Bragg
- 2008: Richard Thompson
- 2007: Buffy Sainte-Marie
- 2006: Odetta
- 2005: Bruce Cockburn
- 2004: Loreena McKennitt