Mariposa : celebrating Canadian folk music : 1980

Summary : a year of crisis

The late seventies saw a dramatic shift in the festival’s audiences.  They were still coming, but they weren’t college kids of the sixties, and they weren’t crazy about sitting in the rain on the islands with their children for three days.  Advance ticket sales fell dramatically, as people waited to see if the sun was going to shine before deciding to hope on the ferry.  Consequently, the increasing financial risk caused the Board of Directors to cancel the festival on Toronto Island and launch a new year-round program including small-scale indoor festival at Harbourfront in 1980. 1980 was to be the celebration of Mariposa’s twentieth anniversary, kicking off with a gala evening at Massey Hall. David Amram was to direct forty Toronto Symphony musicians and be supported by a variety of folk performers.Unfortunately, the event drew fewer than 600 paying attendants. A smaller fall festival at Harbourfront lost money, as did the Toronto Folk Festival, a last-minute attempt to replace the summer festival. Foundation staff refered to the anticipated year of celebration as "a series of cash crises and a crisis of spirit."

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