Developing Artist Program

What do you get when you take a group of young, bright-eyed musicians and music-industry enthusiasts and pair them with seasoned (and salty) musicians and presenters for a weekend?

Chaos? Mayhem? Well, yes. That’s part of it.

But you also get the wonderful world and community that is Folk Music Ontario’s Developing Artist Program.


2018 Developing Artists, Mentors, Alumni, and Volunteers / Photo by Mike Bourgeault

What exactly is the Developing Artist Program?

The FMO Developing Artist Program (formerly known as the FMO Youth Program) is integrated with the annual Folk Music Ontario conference. The program is open to residents of Ontario and the National Capital Region between ages 15 and 21, who are chosen for their interest, ability and experience.

The program has two streams: Performer and Presenter. Successful applicants pay the reduced Youth rate for the conference. Participants under 18 years of age must be accompanied (to the conference, not the program) by a parent or guardian, who may also attend the conference at the Youth rate.

At the 2018 conference, we had five excellent mentors guiding our developing artists:

Mentor Developing Artist
Laura C. Bates Jessica Wedden
Binaeshee Quae Saffron A
Amanda Rheaume Cassidy Houston
Rae Spoon Chloe Lukia Pilar
Wesli Gabriel Cyr

Many well respected and acclaimed musicians have served as mentors in the past, including AHI, Kaia Kater, Quique Escamilla, YAO, Lynn Miles, Julian Taylor, Cécile Doo-Kingué, Leonard Sumner, Graydon James, The Good Lovelies, Bob Wiseman, and Brian Kobayakawa.

Program alumni include artists such as Annie Sumi, Missy Bauman, Tim Jackson, Joëlle Villeneuve, Campbell Woods, Moscow Apartment, Kaia Kater, Ariana Gillis, The Lifers, Nabi Loney (Ellevator), and Benjamin Dakota Rogers.

Performer Stream

DEADLINE: July 15, 2019

In the Performer stream, participants are teamed with established artist mentors for the entire weekend. The program provides young folk/roots performers with an excellent opportunity to shadow an established artist, to experience hands-on learning at the workshops and master classes, and to integrate into this tightly knit musical community. The highlight of the program is the Developing Artist showcase on Saturday afternoon.

The program features many hours interacting one-on-one with the mentors:

  • developing a showcase performance
  • participating in professional development activities

and attending:

  • workshops and master classes on Friday and Saturday
  • industry networking events on Friday and Saturday
  • Sunday morning Awards brunch
  • the exhibit hall
  • all levels of showcases

Additionally, participants are encouraged to attend or take part in the participant- and alumni-produced, late-night showcases on Friday and/or Saturday.

All Developing Artist Program participants are expected to attend the program orientation session and song circle on Thursday night as well as the Developing Artist Wrap-up session on Sunday morning.

For more details, please download the 2019 Developing Artist Program Information PDF.

FMO Taylor Mitchell Bursary

The Folk Music Ontario Taylor Mitchell Bursary is awarded each year to one participant in the Performer stream of the Developing Artist program. For more information, visit Folk Music Ontario Awards.

The impact that my first experience with FMO has had on me (through the Developing Artists Program and the Taylor Mitchell Bursary) has only become more profound as time goes on. As is the way many of this work happens, gigs beget more gigs, and I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be anywhere near as busy or well prepared as a folk artist without the program and the bursary. They have laid foundations for making friends and connections, continuing to learn about our community and what it means to be a folk musician in the 21st century. The program has been repeatedly educational in a variety of aspects, whether it be grant writing, performance, or networking, and I would’ve never been able to attend in the first place without the Taylor Mitchell bursary. I’m happy to have volunteered last year (and to be returning this year) to help provide the same experience for other newcomers to the community with the same kind of experience that I was lucky enough to have.

Braden Phelan, 2017 Taylor Mitchell Bursary recipient

 

Presenter Stream

DEADLINE: July 15, 2019

The Presenter stream teams participants with industry professionals in a series of one-on-one mentoring sessions.

Participants also are invited to attend:

  • industry networking events on Friday and Saturday
  • Sunday morning Awards brunch
  • workshops and info sessions
  • the exhibit hall
  • all levels of showcases

Wherever possible we offer the Presenter participants opportunities for hands-on experience, either at the sound board or in assisting with the various official and sponsored showcases.

Additionally participants are encouraged to participate in planning and producing the participant- and alumni-produced, late-night showcases on Friday and/or Saturday.

All Developing Artist Program participants are expected to attend the program orientation session and song circle on Thursday night as well as the Developing Artist Wrap-up session on Sunday morning.

For more details, please download the 2019 Developing Artist Program Information PDF.