Orillia’s favourite son, Gordon Lightfoot, is now officially the Mariposa Folk Festival’s favourite as well.
The legendary singer was inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame on Sunday night — much to the delight of a sold-out crowd — to close out a spectacular festival weekend after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Tom Wilson, a fellow singer/songwriter and member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, presented Lightfoot with the award onstage.
An emotional Lightfoot thanked the fans and played a song before being joined by his peers including Blue Rodeo, The Good Brothers, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Serena Ryder, and more as they all sang Gord’s song, Alberta Bound, together.
The tributes didn’t stop there as Lightfoot sat side-stage during Blue Rodeo’s headlining set later in the night. The band thanked him for his contributions to Canadian music and then dove into a cover of his song Go-Go Round, bringing most of the folk fans in attendance to their feet.
Tom Wilson told OrilliaMatters Gordon Lightfoot has had a huge impact on the festival and music.
“There’s been a lot of great artists that we have seen on this stage that impact us in so many ways, people that have opened up the doors of possibilities, but Gordon Lightfoot lives in our blood, he’s the soundtrack to some of our greatest and most beautiful memories as well as some of our biggest disasters and has comforted us in those times," Wilson explained.
"He lives in our blood, he’s a part of us and that’s what unites us a community here at Mariposa.”
Artists from far and wide joined in the tribute as video messages were played for Lightfoot and the audience, including heart-felt tributes from Julian Taylor, Sarah McLachlan, Ron Sexsmith, Judy Collins, Steve Earle, Don Mclean, and Andy Kim.