Les Siemieniuk retires from Calgary Folk Music Festival

Posted by Beacon News on 11 April 2014

Les Siemieniuk has announced he is leaving the position of general manager after managing the operations of the Calgary Folk Music Festival for 15 years.

Les Siemieniuk

Les Siemieniuk has retired from the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Photo: Calgary Herald.

During his tenure at the Calgary Folk Music Festival, Siemieniuk has successfully guided the festival operations, solidifying its finances and playing a central role in the transition from a yearly summer festival into a year-round operation at Festival Hall.

With Festival Hall open and operating as a performance gem in Calgary, as well as being a secure office for the CFMF, Les Siemieniuk has made his mark on Calgary’s musical landscape.

“Les carried a vision in his heart to find a permanent home for festival staff and volunteers,” said CFMF board chair Joe Ceci. “He lit the candle that ended up as Festival Hall. It’s is an amazing legacy of his time with the folk fest.”

Siemieniuk has been in charge of festival operations since January of 2000 and will leave May 15, 2014.

Les’s lifetime of dedication and commitment to folk music and the arts in general gave way to local and national prominence as a CBC music producer. In the 2000s, at a time when the Folk Festival financial and organizational footing was at risk, Les Siemieniuk stepped in and remolded a festival culture that now helps bring back over 1600 enthusiastic volunteers each year and is counted amongst the best run festivals in Canada.

In 2008, this success was recognized by Calgary’s Rosza Foundation when Siemieniuk received the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff and volunteers, we acknowledge his significant contribution to the Society and how it has benefited from Les’s unique skills and wisdom,” said a release from the CFMF. “We know that in his retirement he will continue to be a friend of the festival and that we’ll see him often on Prince’s Island sharing his passion for what we do best, creating an oasis of music in the middle of the Bow.”

The Board of Directors will begin an immediate search for an executive director for the Calgary Folk Festival Society.