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News & Press: Conference

Bruce Cockburn & Clearwater

Tuesday, January 10, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jerod Rivers
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Folk Alliance International to Launch People's Voice and Clearwater Awards

As part of a permanent commitment to honoring the socially-conscious roots of folk music, Folk Alliance International (FAI) will launch two new awards during the 2016 International Folk Music Awards show.

The People’s Voice Award will be presented annually to an individual who has unabashedly embraced and committed to social and political commentary in their creative work and folk music career. 

The Clearwater Award will be presented annually to a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in education and sustainable event production. 

Additional awards include Lifetime Achievement, Spirit of Folk, and Album, Song, and Artist of the Year presented on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Folk Alliance International Awards Show

Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 6 pm 
Westin Crown Center Hotel, Century C Ballroom
Open to FAI conference delegates and registered members of the press.

Bruce Cockburn to Receive People’s Voice Award

The inaugural People’s Voice award will be presented to multi-platinum recording artist Bruce Cockburn, whose 40-year career has consistently highlighted environmental, social, and indigenous issues globally.  

Bruce Cockburn has been all over the world to Mozambique, Nepal, Vietnam, Baghdad, Nicaragua, and Guatemala to protest refugee camps, landmines, and Third World debt. He has been tirelessly vocal in support of native rights, the environment, the promotion of peace, and has highlighted the work of Oxfam, the UN Summit for Climate Control, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and Friends of the Earth.

His songs "Mines of Mozambique" from album  The Charity of Night, "Stolen Land" (Waiting for a Miracle), and "If a Tree Falls" (Big Circumstance) have traveled the globe providing context for some of the world’s biggest issues of the day, while exhorting to all who listen for engagement with our shared humanity.

In over 300 songs on 30 albums that range from folk to jazz-influenced rock, he has sold more than seven million records worldwide and prolifically captured the story of the human experience through protest, romance, spiritual searching, and politics. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1985, after observing the horrors of refugee camps along the Guatemalan-Mexican border he shared that he went back to his hotel room, cried, and wrote in his notebook, "I understand now why people want to kill." The experience led him to write "If I Had A Rocket Launcher" from the album Stealing Fire.  

Cockburn is the recipient of 13 Juno Awards, the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, nine honorary doctorates, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Pacing the Cage, a documentary film about his life, music, and politics was released in 2013. His memoir, Rumours of Glory, was published by Harper Collins in 2014.

“We can’t settle for things as they are,” Cockburn has warned. “If you don’t tackle the problems, they’re going to get worse.”

Bruce Cockburn Book Signing

Thursday, February 16, 2017, 12 pm 
Westin Crown Center Hotel, location TBD
Open to FAI conference delegates and registered members of the press.

Clearwater Festival to Receive Eponymous Award


The inaugural Clearwater Award will be presented to its namesake organization, the Clearwater Festival now in its 50th year and recognized as one the world’s largest and most proactive environmentally focused cultural events.

Held along the banks of the Hudson River in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, the Clearwater Festival (also known as the Great Hudson River Revival) has roots based in the environmental movement.

Founded in 1966 by Pete and Toshi Seeger, the Festival began as a fundraising initiative in order to build a one-masted sloop called the Clearwater. The ship has been used for research, education, and advocacy to help preserve and protect the Hudson river, surrounding wetlands, tributaries, and waterways as well as communities in the river valley. To date, over half a million visitors have learned about the river while aboard.

Fifty years after the first event, the Clearwater Festival has become a steadfast defender, supporter, and advocate for the Hudson River. Through music, dance, storytelling, education, and activism it has helped over 250,000 people experience the wonders of its shores and has featured such luminary artists as Janis Ian, Arlo Guthrie, Tom Paxton, Michelle Shocked, Odetta, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Dar Williams, Taj Mahal,  Christine Lavin, and Buckwheat Zydeco, among many others.

The event strives towards zero festival waste, and the goals of sustainability and social responsibility inform all decisions and programs. Use of carpooling, bicycling, and public transportation are encouraged, and the entire festival is wheelchair-accessible and staffed with American Sign Language interpreters. There are many elements to the festival, including seven sustainable bio-diesel-powered stages, environmental education exhibits, Handcrafters’ Village, Green Living Expo, Working Waterfront, Artisanal Food & Farm Market, and Circle of Song. All proceeds go to support research, education, and advocacy to help preserve and protect the river.

The festival is produced by the nonprofit, member-supported, environmental organization the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. The organization has received global recognition for advocacy, leadership, and its role in helping to pass landmark environmental laws including the federal Clean Water Act. Most recently, Clearwater, Inc. played a key role in the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to remove manufactured organic chemicals (PCBs) from the Hudson River.


         Photo credit: Augusto F. Menezes

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