The Ottawa Folk Festival recognizes the contributions and achievements of a wide range of individuals to the folk festival and folk music community in Canada. Below are the awards offered by the Festival.

Helen Verger Award

The Helen Verger Award, named in honour of the founder of Rasputin’s Folk Cafe, is presented each year to an individual who has made significant, sustained contributions to folk/roots music in Canada.

The award was instituted to honour the memory of the late Helen Verger, co-owner of Rasputin’s coffeehouse, mother of Dean Verger, and a friend to many in the Ottawa folk community. Helen’s generosity and love of music embodies the spirit of the Ottawa Folk Festival, and the award is a fitting tribute to a woman who did much to foster the local folk scene.

Lynn Miles receives the Helen Verger Award from Festival Supervisor Mark Monahan, September 2013.

2013:  Lynn Miles

2012: Chris White
2011: Gene Swimmer
2010: Harvey Glatt
2009: Paul Mills
2008: Chalmers Doane
2007: Penny Lang
2006: Arthur McGregor
2005: Willie P. Bennett
2004: Jackie Washington
2003: Jane Siberry
2002: Buffy Sainte-Marie
2001: Kate & Anna McGarrigle
2000: Garnett Rogers
1999: Chopper McKinnon
1998: Ferron & Ian Tamblyn
1997: Bruce Cockburn
1996: Colleen Peterson and Sylvia Tyson
1995: Murray McLauchlan

Galaxie Rising Star Award   

Galaxie, Your Musical Universe, is proudly committed to supporting emerging Canadian music talent through its Galaxie Rising Stars Program. The objective of this program is to help provide opportunities for up-and-coming musicians in all genres by providing showcase opportunities, monetary awards and potential airplay on the Galaxie channels. Since its inception in 2000, over 800 artists have directly benefitted from the Program.

The Galaxie music service is available in over 8 million homes across the country. 45 music channels programmed by experts in a variety of genres. No ads, no talk, just great music.

The Galaxie Rising Star Award has been given out each year at the Ottawa Folk Festival since 2004 to an up-and-coming artist. Previous winners include: Joe Grass, The Musettes, Tall Trees and more. This year we will be considering local acts and very much look forward to recognizing our fantastic local talent with the help of Galaxie.

You must be a Canadian local act, who has already submitted to the festival, who has not already been a recipient of a Galaxie Rising Star award in the past. The award is open to solo acts or bands and the winner will be selected by a jury prior to the festival and announced during the Ottawa Folk Festival’s launch.

A jury will select the recipient of the award based on the music put forward in your festival submission as well as your written answers to music career related questions. Judges will base their decision on three elements: Original composition, performance and commitment to the music community.

Not only does this year’s winner receive a $1,000 cash prize, but they will also be given a performance slot during the festival!

2013 Galaxie Rising Star Award Winners The Claytones

2013: The Claytones

2012: Kelly Sloan
2011: Megan Jerome
2010: The Musettes
2009: Tall Trees
2008: James Farr
2007: David Gaudet
2006: Mark Wilson
2005: Peter Katz and Layah Jane
2004: Joe Grass



Supernova Award

Presented by the Galaxie Rising Stars Program

The Supernova Award is presented by the Galaxie Rising Star Program, which provides bursaries to rising Canadian music talent at festivals and events across Canada. The award, which was born in 2010, is given to a performer – solo or band – for outstanding live performance at the festival.

Chosen by a jury appointed by the Ottawa Folk Festival, eligible artists must meet four criteria: 1) be part of the 2013 Ottawa Folk Festival line-up; 2) be Canadian; 3) have released at least one album and 4) have not previously won a Galaxie Rising Star Award. Jurors are required to watch performances by all eligible acts over the course of the festival weekend (September 6-10) and then meet to deliberate and choose a winner. On the Sunday night of the festival, the winner will be announced and awarded a $2,000 bursary, as well as potential airplay on the Galaxie channels.

2013: Mo Kenney

2012: Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys
2011: Madison Violet
2010: Delhi 2 Dublin

Ottawa Folk Festival – Festival Builders Hall of Fame

In 2011, the Ottawa Folk Festival established its Festival Builders Hall of Fame to recognize and honour the staff, volunteers, and other community members who have made significant contributions to support the organization’s founding and development.

In its first year of the award and the 18th year of the festival, we pay tribute to 18 individuals – the committee who helped found the festival in addition to a few key volunteers whose work were deemed ‘in the spirit of’ the founding committee.

2011 recipients are: AL “Chopper” MacKinnon; Alan Marjerrison; Arthur McGregor; Barry Pilon; Carol Silcoff; Chris White; Dean Verger; Gene Swimmer; Joyce MacPhee; Karen Flanagan-McCarthy; Max Wallace; Pam Marjerrison; Peter Zanette; Rachel Hauraney; Roberta Huebener; Rod McDowell; Sheila Ross, and; Suzanne Lessard-Wynes.

One Fret Less Award

Harvey and Louise Glatt, long-time supporters of folk music and singer/songwriters, make this award possible through an endowment with the Community Foundation of Ottawa. Past winners have gone onto great careers in music since the award began in 2004, with one even garnering a Juno! Presented each year at the festival, winners have the opportunity to perform at the festival.

2010: Clarksdale Moan
2009: Stewed Roots
2008: Margaret Feuerstack and David Johnstone
2007: The Good Lovelies
2006: Jan Purcell and Pine Road
2005: Terry Joe Banjo
2004: Lis Harvey and Dave Carmichael

Beth Ferguson Award

The Beth Ferguson Award is presented to an Ontario female songwriter under the age of 30 in memory of Beth Ferguson (1953-1999). The recipient’s songs have social relevance and would ideally explore women’s issues and/or topics of social justice. Artists receive a small bursary from the Beth Ferguson Scholarship Fund as well as an opportunity to perform at the festival.

Beth Ferguson was widely admired as a songwriter and solo performer, as well as for her work with the a capella group, Malaika. Beth communicated honestly about women’s experiences through her music with beauty and clarity. While developing her writing and performing skills, Beth worked in women’s agencies and raised a daughter. With support from producer Ian Tamblyn, she recorded two beautiful CDs entitled Dance on the Earth and Inside Talking.

2008: Ana Miura
2005: Meredith Luce
2004: Andrea Simms-Karp
2002: Darlene Nerissa and Katryna Nields
2001: Evalyn Parry