Founded in 1961, the Mariposa Folk Festival returns July 7 to 9, 2023 to Tudhope Park in Orillia with a lineup of over 50 acts on more than ten stages, featuring top folk-roots music, along with presentations of story, dance, and craft. Through the years, it has grown to become Canada’s most legendary musical gathering. Whether you go for the day, or spend a weekend camping onsite, this is one of the best grass roots festivals going in Ontario.

Festival Kicks Off With The Way We Feel — A Gordon Lightfoot Celebration – Friday July 7th at 5pm on Main Stage

The late Gordon Lightfoot once said that song writing is “15 percent inspiration and 85 percent perspiration.” All that hard work paid off: over a career spanning 65 years, Lightfoot penned numerous timeless classics, many of which were covered by artists ranging from bluegrass to dance-pop. His unforgettable lyrics — a mix of wit, poetry, and sometimes vicious honest,
paired with hauntingly beautiful melodies make for some of the most compelling songs ever written. Every artist claims to have a “unique” style — Lightfoot truly did. W
hat better way to lovingly honour a legend like Gordon Lightfoot than by playing his songs?

The Way We Feel — A Lightfoot Celebration does just that, by bringing together Canadian musicians from various backgrounds and styles to perform Gordon Lightfoot’s songs. This multi-artist celebration was first conceived of over 20 years ago and has been an annual event at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room since 2003 (minus a few years), as well as multiple Ontario tours. The series went on hiatus in 2017 — before being resurrected at the 2022 Mariposa Folk Festival, with Gordon watching for the side stage. Now, the celebration is making its return to Lightfoot’s hometown, at the first Mariposa folk fest since the artist’s death on May 1, 2023.

Lightfoot himself was a fan of the project and appeared onstage to join in the music-making several times at the Hugh’s Room performances. Over the years, the celebration has featured more than 100 Canadian musicians from roots, blues, folk, jazz and more, including Juno, ECMA, WCMA, Maple Blues and CFMA-award winners.

Joining Mariposa this year to honour the late song writer are artists: Matthew Barber, Lori Cullen, DALA, The Good Brothers, Meredith Moon, Kevin Fox, Jory Nash, with an All-Star House Band featuring Burke Carroll, Jason Fowler, Anne Lindsay, David Matheson and David Woodhead with Emcee, David Newland.

The full 2023 lineup includes: Wild Rivers, Tim Baker, The Wood Brothers, The Weather Station, The Vaudevillian, The Trials of Cato, The Trews Acoustic, The Pistolettes, The McDades, The Bros. Landreth, Terra Spencer, Tegan and Sara, Tanika Charles, STORRY, Steve Poltz, Splash’N Boots, Spencer Burton, Son Little, Sister Ray, Showman & Coole, Sam Polley & the Old Tomorrows, Rural Alberta Advantage, Rufus Wainwright, Quote the Raven, PIQSIQ, OKAN, Mountain City Four feat. Anna McGarrigle & Peter Weldon with special guest Martha Wainwright, Morgan Toney, Melón Jiménez & Lara Wong, Matt Andersen & the Big Bottle of Joy, Martha Wainwright, Lloyd Spiegel, Lisa Sanders & Brown Sugar, Lindy Vopnfjörd, KT Tunstall, Kalascima ft. Andrea Ramolo, Judy Collins, Jill Barber, Jeremy Dutcher, Jake Vaadeland & the Sturgeon River Boys, Jaffa Road, Jack Barksdale, I, The Mountain, HORSEBATH, Feist, David Francey, Clerel, Carsie Blanton, and A Sharon, Lois & Bram Singalong with Sharon, Randi & Friends.

 Tickets for Mariposa are on sale via the festival website.All ticket categories are on sale. Kids 12 & under are admitted free. The festival has special pricing for youth and young adults. Onsite RV and tent camping is available. 

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.