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The 1964 Mariposa Folk Festival

Posted by Jim Yates on Thursday, March 8, 2012

1964 was the first year that the Mariposa Folk Festival was held in Toronto.  It was held in Maple Leaf Stadium and some of the performers were Ian & Sylvia, The Greenbriar Boys, Joni Anderson (later Mitchell), Gord Lightfoot, Rev Gary Davis, Buffy St Marie, Mississippi John Hurt, Tom Kines, David Rea...  With my brother Bob and our friend Dennis, I hitch-hiked down to Toronto and we set up our camp at the edge of the CNE grounds by the Princess (Prince's?) Gates.  The police didn't appreciate this so Terry Whelan, Gord Lightfoot's partner in the Tu-tones invited us to sleep in his back yard.  There were about thirty of us there. 

Here is a picture of a workshop that I took.Click for Large VersionThe workshop participants are Rev Gary Davis, Gordon Lightfoot, Mississippi John Hurt and Tom Kines.

The photo on the left of "four young men, one with guitar" appeared in the Toronto Telegram.  I just found it while browsing the Mariposa Archives site.  That's me on the left with the glasses.

Click for Large Version

On the right above is a picture of the Greenbriar Boys on the main stage with the late John Herald on guitar, I believe Eric Weisburg is playing bass, Frank Wakefield is just peeking over the banjo player's shoulder.  Who is the banjo player?  It doesn't look like Bob Yellin.  (Thanks to Don Borchelt and Greg Levasseur for identifying the banjo player above as the late Winnie Winston.)

Here's a better photo of Frank Wakefield:

4 comments on “The 1964 Mariposa Folk Festival”

mainejohn Says:
Friday, March 9, 2012 @4:56:59 AM

Great photos! Thanks for posting.

Pluckin Mutha Says:
Sunday, April 29, 2012 @8:35:49 PM

I was at Mariposa at Orillia in 1963. We couldn't afford tickets so we listened at the fences. It rained, so we slept under cars overnight. during the day we hung around jams, and enjoyed free beer, and puffed on joints which were passed around.

Pluckin Mutha Says:
Sunday, April 29, 2012 @8:51:45 PM

I took the train from Kitchener to Mariposa, with $2 more than admission, and a "Mickey" in my back pocket. I met a guy in the crowd who accepted a drink, and offered me to stay at his place overnight. He offered to share the bed, but I opted to sleep on the hardwood floor. We shared fresh baked rolls at a neighnourhood bakery in the morning. I think he was gay, but he didn't press me, and was a gracious and generous host. Fantastic Festival.

Jim Yates Says:
Thursday, October 2, 2014 @11:19:21 AM

I was at the Orillia festivals too. I bought a ticket each year. I think they were about $10. I saw a lot of memorable performers in Orillia. The York County Boys were my introduction to Bluegrass. They played at an Orillia street dance in '61 or '62. Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker came walking down the street and the band called them up to do a couple of songs. Ian borrowed the guitar player's instrument and they started with Wildwood Flower.

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