ReFolkUs is back with a special pre-conference drop, where we will be releasing four episodes prior to the Folk Music Ontario Conference being held in London, Ontario on October 12th-15th.
Named after Estelle Klein, a long-time advocate of Canadian Folk music and one of the initial founders of the Folk festival scene, the Estelle Klein Award honours the work of an individual or group that has made significant contributions to Ontario’s folk music community. For the first time in 2023, the Estelle Klein Award has been divided into two separate areas of recognition - The Community Builder Award, and The Lifetime Achievement Award.
In this week’s episode, we chat to Erin Benjamin, who is the 2023 recipient of the Estelle Klein Lifetime Achievement Award. Erin takes us back to the early days of her career as both a musician and a performing artist and dives into the story of how she became the very first Executive Director of Folk Music Ontario (originally called OCFF). We also chat to Erin about the incredibly important work that she is currently doing with the Canadian Live Music Association and her priorities and hopes for the next 5 years of her career.
Erin is a champion for the live music industry; our festivals, venues and live music workers. Congratulations to Erin Benjamin on winning the Estelle Klein Lifetime Achievement Award.
Follow Erin Benjamin and the Canadian Live Music Association online:
Social Media @canadian_live
An award-winning community builder and driving force in Canadian Association leadership, Erin Benjamin has worked in the music industry for over 25 years. Originally a touring and recording artist and then as executive director of both Folk Music Ontario (2001) and the Canadian Arts Presenting Association (2008), today Erin continues her work as the first and only President & CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association (since its founding in 2014). An unflagging champion for the live music sector, particularly during COVID-19, she currently serves as a board member for the Ottawa Board of Trade, the United Way Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Film Office. Over the years she has served a wide variety of organizations as a board member including The Unison Fund, Folk Alliance International, the Songwriters Association of Canada, the National Arts Centre’s Creation Fund, RBC Ottawa Bluesfest and others. She is the proud recipient of several awards including the Jackie Washington Award (NLFB, 1998), Ontario 150 Award (2017), the United Way’s Community Ambassador Award (2019), Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s Resiliency Award (2021), and the Spirit of Folk Award (FAI, 2022), and the Estelle Klein Award (FMO, 2023) all in recognition of her service to community. Erin lives in a vibrant downtown neighbourhood with her amazing kids and perfect pandemic puppy and can often be found on the golf course in the pursuit of happiness.
Produced by Kayla Nezon and Rosalyn Dennett