The Folk Music Ontario Awards are presented annually at the Folk Music Ontario Conference. Winners perform at the Awards Showcase and are recognized at the Awards Brunch.
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
These are the awards and bursary for 2020:
- Songwriter of the Year
- Songs From the Heart Awards(presented by Folk Music Ontario)
- Colleen Peterson Award (presented by Ontario Arts Council)
- Recording Artist of the Year (sponsored by ACTRA-RACS)
- Website Award (presented by Bandzoogle)
- Setting the Stage Award
- Estelle Klein Award
- Taylor Mitchell Bursary
APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2020 CONFERENCE WILL OPEN ON MARCH 1.
Submissions for Songwriter of the Year, Songs From the Heart Awards, Recording Artist of the Year, and Website Award are $20 for members and $40 for non-members. Become a member here.
There is no fee to apply to the Colleen Peterson Award. To be considered for this award you must apply to the Songs from the Heart Award in the Blues, Roots, or Singer-Songwriter categories. The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) does not accept direct submissions for this award.
Applicants can submit to as many awards as they are eligible for. In addition, applicants can submit multiple songs to Songwriter of the Year and the Songs From the Heart Awards. Each song submitted requires a separate application form and fee.
Submission fees are non-refundable and help to cover application processing.
NOTE: Members may not submit on behalf of non-members.
Each award has its own jury. Each jury is comprised of industry professionals and includes a representative from the sponsor, where possible. All efforts are made to keep the judging fair. All awards require a minimum of five applications in order to be active.
Colleen Peterson Award: The Colleen Peterson Award is adjudicated by the Songs from the Heart jury. Following the selection of the Songs from the Heart award winners, the next six highest scored applications in the Blues, Roots, and Singer-Songwriter categories that meet the eligibility requirements are considered. These are reviewed and scored again to determine the winner of the Colleen Peterson Award.
Estelle Klein Award: The Estelle Klein Award winner is determined through a nomination and FMO member vote process. FMO members are encouraged to submit nominations for worthy candidates during the awards submission period. A committee comprised of former winners and current FMO board members will select a short list to be presented to the membership for a vote.
Taylor Mitchell Bursary: The Taylor Mitchell Bursary recipient is determined by a group of musical mentors who knew and loved Taylor.
Songwriter of the Year
The Songwriter of the Year celebrates emerging Canadian songwriters. The winner will receive $1000 plus a registration for that year’s Folk Music Ontario conference.
- Open to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada residing in Canada
- Submission must have both original lyrics and music
- Must be an emerging artist, duo, or group as defined by the following:
- Not previously nominated for any major (national or international) awards
- Must have a body of past recorded work comprising of one to three officially released independent recordings (album or EP) commercially available through iTunes, Amazon or similar distribution services
- Must not have previously been the recipient of a Songwriter of the Year award
- Must plan to continue recording in the near future
- Must be a professional artist (someone who has developed skills through training and/or practice and who is recognized as such by artists working in the same artistic tradition and has a history of public presentation or publication)
- Preference is given to broadcast quality recordings
Songs From the Heart Awards
The Songs From the Heart Awards, presented by Folk Music Ontario celebrate songwriters in seven categories and recognizes winners with a $100 FMO credit that can be used to cover membership fees, SFTH award application fees, conference registrations and advertising with FMO.
The seven categories are:
- Global Folk
- Roots – Draws on various styles such as traditional, folk, country, Americana, etc., e.g., Alan Doyle, Punch Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops
- Singer-Songwriter – Typically a solo performer, singing and playing their own lyrics and composition. May be accompanied by a band but is centered around one or two central personalities, e.g., Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen
- Songs must have original lyrics (except in Instrumental category)
- Lyric sheets MUST NOT include artist name; if they do the application will be disqualified
- Songs submitted to the Instrumental category must be original music
- Songs recorded by solo artists, duos, or groups are eligible but the award is presented to the songwriter
- Songs should be well presented but elaborate production is not essential
- Songs may be presented in any language. English translations of the lyrics must be provided
- Songs are evaluated on melody, lyrics, and overall structure
- Must be a professional artist (someone who has developed skills through training and/or practice and who is recognized as such by artists working in the same artistic tradition, and has a history of public presentation or publication)
- Must have resided in Ontario or the National Capital Region (see map) for at least 12 months prior to application
- Must be Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- Winners from the previous two years are not eligible
Colleen Peterson Award
The Colleen Peterson Award was established by the Ontario Arts Council in 2003 to celebrate the work of an emerging professional singer-songwriter of any age in honour of Colleen Peterson’s contribution to Canadian folk and country music.
The award is given to an emerging Ontario singer/songwriter in the genres of roots, traditional, folk and country music. The winner receives $1000 plus a registration for that year’s Folk Music Ontario conference.
ABOUT COLLEEN PETERSON
Colleen had a soaring voice, engaging stage presence and a proven songwriting talent. The recipient of two Juno Awards, Colleen collaborated with a long list of folk, roots and country musicians, and was a founding member of the celebrated group Quartette.
After a year-long battle with cancer, Colleen passed away at the age of 45 in 1996, and was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
- Must be an emerging artist of any age but with a maximum of 10 years’ experience as a professional musician
- Must be a professional artist (someone who has developed skills through training and/or practice, and is recognized as such by artists working in the same artistic tradition, and has a history of public presentation or publication, and seeks payment for their work and actively practises their art, with short breaks in artistic work history allowed)
- Must have resided continuously in Ontario for at least one year prior to application
- Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- Must be an individual singer-songwriter; co-writes by collectives or ensembles are NOT eligible for submission
- Submission must have original music and lyrics
- Must NOT be a previous winner of the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award and isn’t one of the current year’s winners of a Songs from the Heart Award.
- Must also apply for a Songs From The Heart Award in the Blues, Roots, or Singer-Songwriter category. The OAC does not directly accept submissions for this award
- Only one song per songwriter will be considered for the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award. (i.e. if a songwriter has two songs in the top six, only the top scoring song will remain in the competition.)
- Lyric sheets MUST NOT include artist name; if they do the application will be disqualified
Recording Artist of the Year
The Recording Artist of the Year was established in 2017 and is sponsored by ACTRA-RACS (Recording Artists’ Collecting Society). This award recognizes the overall artistic performance of a recording artist in the folk, roots, or blues genres. The winner will receive $1000.
- Open to solo, duo, or group acts on a recording
- Both instrumental and vocal recordings are eligible
- Must submit two tracks that best represent range and performance capability
- Recording(s) must have been released in previous calendar year (i.e., January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019 for the 2020 award). Proof of release is required with a link to webpage that has recording available to the public. (e.g. link to Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby)
- Recording must be in folk, roots, or blues genres
- Artist must be Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada and must have resided in Canada for at least 12 months prior to application. If act has multiple members, at least 50% must meet this criterion
The Website Award was established in 2018 and is presented by Bandzoogle. This award recognizes the best web design for a website promoting a performing artist in the folk, roots, or blues genres. The award is given to the artist, duo, or group along with the web designer (if applicable). The winner will receive $250.
- Open to solo, duo, or group acts and the web designer. Submissions must be made by the artist, a member of the group or the designer.
- Website will be evaluated on DESIGN (photos, colours, typography, etc.), CONTENT (is site up to date, does it have relevant content for fans, industry, media, etc.), and ORGANIZATION (is it easy to find information on the site). Visit this page for more info.
- Both the web designer and the artist must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada and must have resided in Canada for at least 12 months prior to application. If act has multiple members, at least 50% must meet this criterion.
- The previous year’s winner is not eligible for the current year.
Setting the Stage Award
The Setting the Stage Award was established in 2018. This award is given to a club, venue or festival in recognition of their outstanding contributions to Canada’s live music industry. The winner will receive $1000.
- Open to clubs, venues, and festivals that present folk, roots, and/or blues music
- Preference is given to clubs, venues, and festivals with a general practice of supporting performers with financial remuneration
- Club, venue, or festival must be located in Canada
- Submissions will be evaluated based on a write-up outlining why they deserve to be recognized with this award. Applicants should consider aspects such as inclusivity (including accessibility), diversity (i.e. gender balance, regional representation of artists programmed, etc.), connection to local community, environmental stewardship, etc. or any other aspect that they feel makes their venue or festival stand out
- Applicants may also submit up to two letters of support (from community leaders, volunteers, audience members, performing artists, etc.)
Estelle Klein Award
The Estelle Klein Award honours the work of an individual or group that has made significant contributions to Ontario’s folk music community. The award is named after Estelle Klein, a long-time advocate of Canadian folk music and one of the early founders of the folk festival scene in this country.
Winners are recognized with a registration for that year’s Folk Music Ontario conference for themselves and a partner as well as a lifetime FMO membership. The winner is also featured in the Conference Program edition of Folk Prints magazine, at an interview at the FMO Awards brunch, and in a career retrospective video.
- Any FMO member may submit a nomination
- Nominee must be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident
- Nominee must have made a significant contribution to Ontario’s folk music community
- Nominator Statement – why the nominator believes this individual or group should be considered (1000 words max)
- Bio of achievements (250 words max)
- Links to support material – press, recordings, etc. (2 max)
- Website link
- Nominee contact info
Taylor Mitchell Bursary
The Taylor Mitchell Bursary was established in 2010 by Emily Mitchell, in memory of her daughter, Canadian songwriter Taylor Mitchell. Initially funded for five years (2010-2014), the bursary received additional funding, allowing it to be awarded through the 2019 conference. The bursary is to support one participant in the Performer Stream of the Developing Artist Program who might otherwise be prevented from taking part.
The bursary recipient receives up to $500 towards costs associated with attending the FMO conference and participating in the Performer Stream of the Developing Artist Program.
- Must be nominated for the bursary by a teacher/community member/mentor, in light of the goals of the bursary program.
- Must be selected as a participant of the Performer Stream of the Developing Artist Program. Participants will be given the option to apply for the bursary in their application (Apply here)