If the 70’s were a decade of massive growth for folk music, the 80’s
were even bigger. There was more of everything- more festivals; the emergence
of new “stars” including Rita MacNeil, and Loreena McKennitt,
each selling hundreds of thousands of records; new writers, new genres
of music. Stan Rogers was poised to become a major artist. In Atlantic
Canada young players began to explore the traditions unearthed by the
folklorists during the first half of the century and reinterpret them.
Women artists inspired by the women’s movement and the creation of “women’s
music” in the United States entered the field in force. Ferron, Heather
Bishop, and Connie Kaldor gained national and international audiences. The Winnipeg Women’s Music Festival demonstrated what a richness
there was. Stephen Fearing, James Keelahan, and other new voices
began to be heard. The mainstream of the industry began to pay attention
for the first time since the 60’s and old issues of the commercial value
versus the artistic value of the music began to be raised again.