In 1977 the festival took a thematic turn, focusing on the origins of North American folk music. The artistic director Estelle Klein set out to demonstrate its variety under four themes: francophone, black, Spanish and English. The historical approach to that year’s events, held from June 24-26 at Toronto Islands led to the decision to turn the organization into a foundation.
By now the festival was widely considered to have come into its own. Performers included Jean Carignan, Stan Rogers, David Amram, Margaret Christl, John Hammond, Rita McNeill, Taj Mahal, Kate and Anna McGarrigle,The Victor Jara Folklore Group, Ole Belle Reed, and Ian Robb.
1977 again featured storytellers, musicians and craftspeople from Newfoundland and Labrador.