Richard Thompson wins Winnipeg Folk Fest award
9/25/2008 (updated 12/5/2008)

September 25, 2008 at 12:57 PM CDT

This winter, Richard Thompson will be taking a bow in Winnipeg … and bringing home some local goodies as well.

The Winnipeg Folk Festival announced today that the iconic singer-songwriter is the recipient of its 2008 Artistic Achievement award. That’s not just a plaque and a fancy title. The award includes an artwork from a Manitoba artist.

To celebrate the honour, fans will have two opportunities to catch Thompson in person. The singer will be on hand to accept his laurels at the festival’s Dec. 4 Winter Wassail fundraiser at the Convention Centre. And the next night, he’ll headline his own just-announced concert at the Garrick Centre.

Folk fest artistic director Chris Frayer says that Thompson’s goodwill to Birds Hill made him a natural choice for the award.

“Richard’s always understood exactly what the festival’s about,” Frayer says, citing Thompson’s four festival appearances (most recently in 2006) and contributions to daytime stage workshops. “He’s really a musician’s musician. He continues to be a relevant artist who keeps putting out really great recordings and a remarkable live show.”

This is the first time in its five-year history that the award has gone to an artist from outside North America. Thompson, 59, hails from London, where he got his start with the short-lived but fondly remembered ’60s folk group Fairport Convention. He went on to earn critical acclaim and a loyal fanbase with his then-wife, Linda Thompson, and later as a solo artist.

Tickets for the Winter Wassail (which also includes a dinner, silent auction and music) are $125 and available by calling 231-0096. A tax receipt will be issued for a portion of the ticket price. Wassail ticket holders will get a chance at prime seats for Thompson’s headlining concert on Dec. 5.

Tickets for that show are available at the Festival Music Store, or through Ticketmaster.

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