Canadian Celtic musician Loreena McKennitt to headline Peterborough Folk Festival on August 20

34th annual music festival includes two days of admission-by-donation music and more at Nicholls Oval Park on August 19 and 20

Canadian singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt will be returning to her roots during her performance at the Peterborough Folk Festival at Nicholls Oval Park on August 20, 2023. (Publicity photo)
Canadian singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt will be returning to her roots during her performance at the Peterborough Folk Festival at Nicholls Oval Park on August 20, 2023. (Publicity photo)

The Peterborough Folk Festival has announced renowned Canadian singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt will be the Sunday headliner for the 34th annual music festival taking place on August 19 and 20 at Nicholls Oval Park beside the Otonabee River.

The Manitoba-born musician is returning to her roots by making appearances at several summer folk festivals in Ontario in August, including the Peterborough Folk Festival, where she will be performing some of her early, most traditional Celtic songs.

“It will be a bit like going back to ‘touch the stone’ performing some of these traditional songs which inspired me so many years ago,” McKennitt said. “Besides, this is really in my backyard. I first began performing in folk clubs in Winnipeg and folk festivals are in my blood. I miss them terribly and am so looking forward to being a part of them again this summer.”

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With a recording career spanning more than two decades, McKennitt’s ‘eclectic Celtic’ music has received worldwide critical acclaim, with gold, platinum, and multi-platinum sales awards in 15 countries across four continents.

To date, she has sold over 14 million albums with a catalogue that includes seven studio recordings, three seasonal recordings, a live in-concert DVD, and two DVD documentaries. She has won two Juno awards and has been nominated for two Grammy awards.

McKennitt is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba. In 2002 and 2012, she was the recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals and, in 2013, she was appointed to the rank of Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France. She was recently inducted into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

VIDEO: “The Mummers’ Dance” – Loreena McKennitt

Aside from her music, McKennitt is also known for promoting her values including compassion and empathy, inclusivity and diversity, looking after the less fortunate in society, and respecting the gifts of the natural world.

“We are so honoured to have Loreena McKennitt perform,” says Peterborough Folk Festival artistic director Ryan Kemp in a media release. “Not only is Ms McKennitt a critically acclaimed singer and composer, she is revered for her passion for human rights and the protection of the environment.”

Welcoming more than 12,000 people to Peterborough and the surrounding region each year, Kemp explains the Peterborough Folk Festival strives for gender parity, diversity, and inclusivity in the performance line-up and throughout all aspects of the festival, including by supporting local musicians. Of the 28 artists who performed at the festival in 2022, 11 were local.

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“As the second-largest cultural event in the region promoting inclusivity and diversity, we are so grateful to have Ms McKennitt share her incredible talent and generosity of spirit with all of those who attend the festival,” Kemp says.

The 2023 Peterborough Folk Festival kicks off with ticketed concerts on Thursday, August 17th at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre and Friday, August 18th at the Gordon Best Theatre, followed by an admission-by-donation weekend of music and more on Saturday, August 19th and Sunday, August 20th at Nicholls Oval Park. Organizers will be making additional announcements during June, including the festival children’s performer, the Saturday headliner, the complete line-up of performers, and the festival’s emerging artist.

For more information about the festival, including how to get involved as an artist, volunteer, or vendor, visit


kawarthaNOW is proud to be a media sponsor of the 2023 Peterborough Folk Festival.