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Liz Scott takes over for Mike Hill

By Patrick Bales, The Orillia Packet & Times

Liz Scott

Liz Scott

A new artistic director will be at the helm of the Mariposa Folk Festival for 2018.

The Mariposa Folk Foundation announced this week Liz Scott will take over for Mike Hill, who has been in charge of the talent for the past 11 years.

Scott assisted Hill in curating this year’s festival, and Hill plans to stay on the festival’s board of directors, reversing the roles going forward, providing assistance to Scott as she brings in the musicians who will make up the Mariposa bill.

It’s a good sign for the future, said Pam Carter, president of the foundation.

“I think it speaks to the success of the festival, that we’re moving from one artistic director to an artistic director and an assistant artistic director,” Carter said. “We’re growing. We’ve had great success since we’ve come back to Orillia and we plan on continuing that.”

Carter highlighted Scott’s “wealth of experience” in the Canadian folk music scene, serving in a variety of roles, from presenter to artistic director, in a number of venues, from house shows to large-scale festivals. She is the former artistic director for Eaglewood Folk Festival and Village Vibes at Blue Mountain Resort and has also served as a Juno Awards judge and Folk Alliance International mentor, and is a current member of the Folk Music Ontario board of directors.

Those are the kinds of chops needed from an artistic director taking over programming at a festival coming off one of its strongest years in recent memory. The line-up for the 2017 Mariposa Folk Festival was well-received, with thousands packing Tudhope Park for each of the three days in July.

Carter was quick to note how well she thought the partnership between Hill and Scott last year helped make the festival what it was.

“I think the success of the 2017 festival just demonstrates what a great team they have together and the results they are able to obtain through their artistic programming,” Carter said. “They work really well together. They complement each other. They both bring skills to the table and put together a great artistic line-up.”

Scott came onto the foundation’s radar about a year ago, Carter explained. Succession planning is key for its board of directors, particularly for a group that relies so heavily on the efforts of volunteers. It was Hill who brought a proposal to the board to transition himself out of a role he had held for a decade.

“He’d known Liz through industry, through the various other festivals and events,” Carter said. “She came on board as the assistant director. That allowed the board the opportunity to get to know her, get to know how she works (and) for her to get to know us.”

The experiment worked and plans are already in the making for Scott’s first year in charge. An email was sent Wednesday, advertising the availability early-bird tickets for the 2018 festival, as well as a teaser to stay tuned for programming announcements in the near future.

As for Hill, he’ll remain an “integral part” of the artistic programming for Mariposa. Carter noted his role in the festival’s resurgence in the nearly two decades it has been back in Orillia.

“He knows the festival inside and out,” she said. “His contributions to the festival have certainly contributed in a major way to the success of the festival.”

Scott was attending an industry event in Newfoundland and was unable to comment before press time. 

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