Mariposa : celebrating Canadian folk music : 1964


1964 was a tumultuous year for the festival with a last minute move from Medonte Township, near Orillia to Maple Leaf Stadium in Toronto. The move was precipitated by the controversy that arose within the small communities about what several newspapers were dubbing as “rowdyism” from the “folkniks” in the previous two years. The organizers fought to continue on with the festival as planned leading the councillors of Medonte to file an injunction. The festival received a lot of attention from the press throughout the struggle and despite the negativity associated with the folk revival movement at that time, the directors allowed the Martin Luther King Fund to solicit funds at the festival, demonstrating the values of the folk movement and its connection to civil rights causes.

Plagued with inclement weather on top of its sudden relocation, the festival, under the direction of Randy Ferris, Martin Onrot, and Dr. Crawford Jones,moved operations to Toronto. Given all the setbacks, the festival suffered financial losses that year with only 5,000 of the projected 15,000 attendees turning up.

Performances included Alan Mills, Buffy Saint-Marie, Jean Carignan, The Greenbriar Boys, Tom Kines, Mississippi John Hurt, Jacqueline & Birdie, Allen-Ward Trio, David Rea, Owen McBride, Three False Knaves and Julianne Harris, Elyse Weinberg, Robin Ward, Ted MacGillivray, Gordon Lightfoot and Rev. Gary Davis (filling in for Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.)

As the 1964 posters and program demonstrate, festival organizers had already created promotional material featuring the original location.

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