Selection Procedure

Each award has its own jury. Each jury is comprised of industry professionals and includes a representative from the sponsor, where possible. All efforts are made to keep the judging fair. All awards require a minimum of five applications in order to be active.  

General Eligibility Requirements:  

  • All final nominees are required to be members of Folk Music Ontario (Individual or Organization status) in good standing.
  • Within a Group or Duo at least 50% of the contributing members are required to be members of Folk Music Ontario (Individual or Organization status) in good standing, notwithstanding the definitions outlined in the above exemptions.  
  • Eligibility Period: January 1, 2023 - December 31, 2023
  • Lyrics may be presented/sung in any language  
  • Artist or 50% of Duo/Group must reside in Ontario or the National Capital Region
  • One physical trophy is awarded per award category, regardless of size of group.  
  • A admin fee for $25 for members and $35 for non-members will be charged per application - not per category applied for, ie. you can apply for as many categories as you are eligible for, per application. 

NOTE: Members may not submit on behalf of non-members.  

Song of the Year    

(Formerly known as the ‘Songs From the Heart’ Award)   

The Song of the Year Award is presented by Folk Music Ontario. The Song of the Year is awarded for a single or for one track from an album. This award recognizes an artist whose music demonstrates excellence in the craft of songwriting. A songwriter writing alone or in collaboration with others is eligible, as long as one (1) is a current resident of Ontario. A song does not need to contain lyrics to be eligible. Songs submitted must have been released, in any format, during the eligibility period. This award goes only to the composer(s) of the song.   



  • Must have resided continuously in Ontario for at least one year prior to application    
  • Submission must have original music and lyrics    
  • Lyric sheets MUST NOT include artist name; if they do the application will be disqualified.   

Album of the Year

The Album of the Year Award is presented by Folk Music Ontario. This award is presented to the act (solo, duo or group) for an Ontario Folk Music album, which was released for mass public consumption in its entirety, within the current eligibility period. An album is defined as a collection of several pieces of music made available as a single item. The album can be a special project or commemorative package. Voters and jury members should give consideration to all aspects, including but not limited to, market impact (e.g. sales, spins, YouTube views), artistic performance, production, design, art layout and liner notes. This award is for an album as a whole unit.


  • Album may be presented in any language.      
  • Album must have more than 5 tracks, or have 30+ minutes of recorded music.     
  • Must be a professional artist (someone who has developed skills through training and/or practice and who is recognized as such by artists working in the same artistic tradition, and has a history of public presentation or publication)    

Recording Artist of the Year

The Recording Artist of the Year was established in 2017. This award recognizes the overall artistic performance of a recording artist in the folk genre. 


  • Open to solo, duo, or group acts on a recording      
  • Both instrumental and vocal recordings are eligible      
  • Must submit two tracks that best represent range and performance capability      
  • Recording(s) must have been released in previous calendar year (i.e., January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2022 for the 2023 award). Proof of release is required with a link to webpage that has recording available to the public. (e.g. link to Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby)      
  • Artist must be Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada and must have resided in Canada for at least 12 months prior to application. If act has multiple members, at least 50% must meet this criterion