The Peterborough Folk Festival (PFF) is a volunteer-run, non-profit, incorporated organization dedicated to promoting music, culture, and community in the City of Peterborough. Entering our 24th year in 2013, the PFF has diversified its goals, reaching beyond ‘traditional’ or ‘folk’ music and presenting established as well as emerging artists from a broad variety of genres and traditions.
The PFF mandate includes the following aims:
- To foster communication within the community, between generations, cultures, and groups.
- To expand the horizons of our audience through music and the arts.
- To provide a safe and inclusive space for community interaction.
- To create partnerships within the community that offer mutual support and strength.
- To maintain and protect the resources and environment which we inhabit for the benefit of future generations.
About the Festival
The annual three-day festival of music, community, and art takes place the weekend prior to Labour Day. The event once again features an opening night kick-off party, a day-long free festival in Rotary Park/Nicholls Oval, and a day of free, focused workshops presented in partnership with local organizations. This celebration of music, arts, and community is well-respected across the provincial and national arts scene as a progressive and exciting presentation of music in a comfortable, family-friendly atmosphere.
The park is accessible to people from all walks of life and physical ability, and the festival is an inclusive space where new Canadians, minority groups and established community members can enjoy all that Peterborough has to offer in a safe and fun environment. In addition, the festival began a Greening Initiative in 2007 in order to lessen our impact on the environment, working to ban plastic water bottles and non-biodegradable plastics from the site, composting and recycling, providing reusable amenities, and using solar energy and LCD lighting to cut energy usage. The PFF is now the festival with the lowest environmental impact of any in the County, and one of the smallest-footprint festivals in the province, despite a larger attendance than most folk festivals. We move forward in 2011 proud of our work, and ready to build on those successes and assess other ways to minimize our impact on the environment. These and other Greening Initiatives are being studied and copied at festivals across Canada, and are included in the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals’ Green Guide for Festivals. The PFF is truly a leader in green initiatives for festivals.
The Peterborough Folk Festival’s annual event is a meeting ground within the community, bringing together people from a broad spectrum of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, age ranges, and neighborhoods. There are few other events in the area where meaningful connections between such a broad cross-section of the community occur in a peaceful, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere. Through diverse programming and specific outreach, we hope to encourage the emerging communities in Peterborough to attend the festival, and feel themselves a represented part of the greater community.
A continuing investment in youth and the arts via Local-Vocal-Live, workshops, and partnerships allow the PFF to both teach and learn from Peterborough’s youth. We hope to encourage local youth to invest their time and energy in us, and in this community.
The festival is also an excellent opportunity to educate the people of Peterborough, and it’s guests, all members of the public in the broad range of musical genres, food, culture, and arts that are available within Canada and our community. Given that new, emerging music from Canada and around the world is under-represented in both the mainstream media and other presentations, the festival provides our community with a unique opportunity to experience the diverse sounds availalbe. This complements the presentation of local artists, representing Peterborough’s distinct cultural voice on the national music scene.
We also encourage non-profit community groups to participate in the Saturday park event by providing space, free-of-charge, for booths to educate our attendees regarding services, organizations, and other groups which exist in the area.
The federal governments’ Healthy Living Strategy inspired the festival to include physical activity workshops at the festival in 2007, and we’ve expanded on the program in the intervening years, presenting Tai Chi, yoga, hula-hooping, Jiu Jitsu, and other participatory workshops. These are a terrific success, and will be built upon in the future. Encouraging audience members to walk, bike, canoe or rollerblade to the festival and creating more opportunities for physical activities on our workshop stages, through demonstrations, and in our children’s area, the PFF aims to helps our community to be becoming fit and active in fun ways.
The PFF is stepping into the role of community leader for festival greening initiatives, finding successful strategies to preserve and protect the environment by lessening the festival’s impact upon it. Long a pioneer in using solar power to amplify festival stages, in 2007 we introduced our Greening Initiative, which cut down on waste by providing reusable plates, cutlery, and water bottles for festival attendees. Other local community organizations and events have since adopted this model, and we hope to see many events and organizations within the city, province, and country follow the PFF’s lead in this important project.
We firmly believe that the Peterborough Folk Festival is an event that fulfills a multiplicity of needs in this community, including communication between segments of the community, youth involvement, community education, the promotion and support of the arts, education about and creation of green strategies, and the promotion of physical activity.
The Peterborough Folk Festival enjoys strong community support from a broad range of organizations, businesses, and individuals. Past and current sponsors and donors include
Funders: The Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation, The Department of Canadian Heritage – Arts Presentation Canada Program, The SOCAN Foundation, The City of Peterborough
Partnerships: Sadleir House, The Canadian Canoe Museum, GoLogo Designs, Trent Radio, The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Peterborough-Kawarthas Tourism, Focus Fair, Artsweek, Artspace, Trent Radio, The Ontario Council of Folk Festivals
Sponsors: The Peterborough Examiner, Peterborough Kids Magazine, The Publican House Brewery, Generation Solar, The Link, Karma’s Café, Hot Belly Mama’s, Ashburnham Paint and Wallpaper, The Spill Café, The Red Dog Tavern, The Rusty Snail, WEBmadman, Quid Novis, The New Canadians Centre, Renegade Apparel, Riverside Holiday Inn, Camel’s Back Construction, Rollin’ Acres Independent School, Green Sprouts Childcare, Ed’s Music Workshop, Quid Novis, Greenup Peterborough
In-Kind Support: Enterprise Rent-a-car, Rocky Ridge, Quaker Oats, Minute Maid Company Canada Inc., Vendors of the Peterborough Farmer’s Market, Liftlock IGA, Green-Up Peterborough, Rowan Tree Preschool, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Paddling Puppeteers, John Etches, Fabricland, Sound Pro, Canteen of the Kawarthas, Charlotte Pantry, Loblaw’s Supermarkets, RJ’s Fresh Produce, M&M Meats, Mihn’s Groceries, Kelsey’s Health Foods, Pepsico Foods Canada Inc., Ken’s No Frills, Hileswood Farm, The Main Ingredient, Seven Eleven, Aramark Canada LTD, The Better Home Bakery, Canadian Tire, Stickling’s Specialty Bakery, Morello’s Independent Grocer, Jim Lunn, Kingdon Tim-BR Mart, RONA, Rocky Ridge, Johnnie On The Spot, Clayton Benson, Benjamin Moore Paints, Colour Your World, Tim Horton’s, D’Arcy and Deiter’s No Frills, and Lansdowne Price Chopper.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Peterborough Folk Festival: from the Festival Director to the Parking Attendants, the festival is entirely volunteer-run. Volunteers book artists, liaise with community groups to create partnerships and shared resources, strategize green initiatives and publicity, prepare food, poster for events, run the Children’s Village, shoot and edit video and photos, create the website and graphic design, monitor social networking groups, hold meetings and ensure Bylaws and rules are adhered to, pick up garbage, serve beer, and set up tents.