DONATE NOW   |   Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In   |   Become a Member
Lifetime Achievement Awards

The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented each year during the annual International Folk Alliance Conference. The awards are presented to a living recipient, a memorial recipient, and an organization or recognized academic.

Past Recipients (1995-2016)

Lifetime Achievement Award videos now on YOUTUBE

2016 Ramblin' Jack Elliott Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)
2015 Peggy Seeger Bessie Jones Canadian Society for Traditional Music
2014 Buddy MacMaster* Dock Boggs Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
2013 The Weavers Mike Seeger Augusta Heritage Center
2012 Harry Belafonte
Robert Johnson The Highlander Center
2011 Joan Baez
Jimmie Rodgers Les Blank
2010 Bob Dylan
Elizabeth Cotten National Council for Traditional Arts
2009 Guy & Candie Carawan* Phil Ochs
Old Town School of Folk Music
2008 Mavis Staples Tommy Jarrell Rounder Records
2007 Earl Scruggs* Dave Van Ronk Manny Greenhill
2006 Tom Paxton Clifton Chenier Kenneth Goldstein
2005 Odetta* Stan Rogers The Newport Folk Festival
2004 New Lost City Ramblers Mississippi John Hurt Bess Lomax Hawes
2003 Ralph Stanley Reverend Gary Davis SingOut!
2002 Hazel Dickens* Bill Monroe Harold Leventhal
2001 Lydia Mendoza* Paul Robeson Ralph Rinzler
2000 Doc Watson* Dewey Balfa Edith Fowke
1999 Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon The Carter Family Anne and Frank Warner
1998 Jean Ritchie* Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter American Folklife Center
1997 Bruce "Utah" Phillips* N/A Arhoolie Records (Chris Strachwitz)
1996 N/A Woody Guthrie
Folkways Records (Moe Asch*)
1995 Pete Seeger* N/A Alan Lomax

  * - denotes Living Lifetime Achievement Award winner has passed.


2016 recipients bios and video below:




One of the last true links to the great folk traditions of this country, with over 40 albums under his belt, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is considered one of the country’s legendary foundations of folk music. Long before every kid in America wanted to play guitar, Ramblin’ Jack had picked it up and was passing it along. In the tradition of roving troubadours Jack has carried timeless songs from one place to another, from one generation to the next. Jack ran away from his Brooklyn home at fourteen to join the rodeo and learned his guitar from a cowboy. In 1950, he met Woody Guthrie, moved in with the Guthrie family and traveled with Woody, adopting his signature style and sound. Jack is a multiple Grammy Award winner, and recipient of a national Medal for the Arts.





Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (born in Georgia and Tennessee respectfully) established themselves as a duo in New York in 1942 breaking onto the folk scene alongside Leadbelly, Josh White, and Woody Guthrie. They did most of their work from 1958 until 1980, spending 11 months of each year touring, and recording dozens of albums. Despite their later fame as “pure” folk artists playing for white audiences, Terry and McGhee also fronted a jump blues combo with honking saxophone and rolling piano, variously calling themselves “Brownie McGhee and his Jook House Rockers” or “Sonny Terry and his Buckshot Five.” They appeared in the original Broadway productions of Finian’s Rainbow and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. During the blues revival of the 1960s, Terry and McGhee were very popular on the concert and music festival circuits, occasionally adding new material but usually remaining faithful to their roots and their audience.




The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is a 118 year old organization with a mission to preserve and promote the best of folk. The Folk-Song Society was founded in 1898 with the aim of saving and celebrating England’s traditional folk songs. Following a merger with the English Folk Dance Society (EFDS) in 1932, they expanded to include the wider folk arts – and today they continue to bring folk to new audiences across the country, as evidenced by The Full English – their most ambitious learning and participation program to date. A truly groundbreaking undertaking, The Full English is a nationwide digital archiving project that preserves and provides access to thousands of traditional folk manuscripts. Over 3,000 individuals and 800 organizations comprise the membership of EFDSS, ensuring that folk arts and music remain alive and growing.


World Headquarters 509 DELAWARE ST. #101, KANSAS CITY, MO 64105 • 816-221-FOLK (3655) • FAI@FOLK.ORG

Subscribe to our mailing list

Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal