Mitch Podolak — former director of Victoria’s ICA FolkFest and a major figure in Canada’s folk festival scene — will receive the Unsung Hero Award at this year’s Canadian Folk Music Awards.
The award will be presented at the CFMA Awards Gala Nov. 10 in Calgary. The Unsung Hero Award is presented annually in recognition of exceptional contributions from an individual or group to any aspect of the Canadian folk scene.
Podolak helped found the Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1974 and co-founded the Vancouver Folk Festival four years later. He also assisted with the launch of the Edmonton and Calgary folk festivals.
As director of the ICA FolkFest, Podolak was instrumental in moving the event from Centennial Square to an Inner Harbour site in the mid 1990s.
Although the revamped FolkFest thrived for some years, it folded in 2006, citing financial problems.
Currently, Podolak is executive director of Winnipeg-based Home Routes, which operates a circuit of home concerts in North America.