A Winterfolk History
If ever proof were needed of the adage that “every cloud has its silver lining” the creation of the Winterfolk Festival provides a real-life demonstration. For this annual Toronto music event that has made such a positive difference in so many people’s lives began, ironically, because of a negative experience.
Back in the spring of 2002, Brian Gladstone (Winterfolk’s founder and executive director of the Artists For A Better World non-profit organization that now operates it) and his musical partner Tony Quarrington had just completed an unsuccessful audition for a spot at a prestigious summer Folk festival.
“Out of nine people who had auditioned they picked six but they didn’t pick us and it was literally my 200th rejection by a festival over a two or three year period,” Gladstone recalled in a recent interview.
“Suddenly it occurred to me that if I wanted to play a festival I was going to have to start one! There were a bunch of other artists in the room where we were auditioning so I started walking around the room asking them ‘Do you want to play at my festival?’ and I just started hiring people to do that.”
After mulling over how to fulfill his commitment and studying the festival calendar, Gladstone was struck with one of those magical flashes of insight that we associate with geniuses in various fields.
“There was a seven-month void in the folk festival calendar during the winter and I thought ‘ok, that’s what marketing is: you find a niche and fill it, fulfill the need.’”
Gladstone thus decided to