History of FMO

Folk Music Ontario was incorporated as a Non-Profit in the province of Ontario in 1987 as the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals / Conseil des Festivals Folk de l'Ontario - Seeing the benefits of mutual support and collaboration, six Ontario music festivals came together in 1986 to form the Ontario Council of folk Festivals (OCFF). This new organization established a folk-genre presenters’ network and programmed professional development workshops that would be held during an annual conference. 

The OCFF initiated several projects that raised the profile of the organization and increased its membership.  The OCFF began to print a quarterly magazine, Folk Prints, established the Songs From the Heart songwriting competition, began the community outreach program Art Beat, and added Official Showcase performances to the conference weekend. 

By 1999 the OCFF board of directors had representatives from each region of Ontario, represented 25 major provincial folk festivals, and included ‘individuals’ (artists) into its bylaws as voting members. 

In January 2001 the OCFF hired an Executive Director and the organization continued to expand.  By January 2004 membership had increased, programming intensified, and the service development and financial strength of the OCFF were transformed profoundly. 

At the 2012 conference, the membership voted to change the name of the organization from “The Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF)” to “Folk Music Ontario / Musique Folk de l’Ontario (FMO)”, in order to help people better understand who we are and what we do. 

Since then, Folk Music Ontario / Musique Folk de l’Ontario (FMO) has grown the annual conference to be the largest gathering of the folk music industry in Canada, and the largest member-driven organization serving the Canadian folk music community. With ongoing activities such as the Developing Young Artists Program, Art Beat, the Ontario Folk Music Awards, Export Development Program, Folk in Film Festival, and Festivals’ Retreat, serving the membership, folk community, and music industry at-large.