Podolak co-founded the annual Winnipeg festival in 1974 and went on to help create other events like the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. He was also responsible for the opening of the West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg.
Podolak was honoured as a member of the Order of Canada in 2015 and received the Unsung Hero Award from the Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2013.
Below, see a string of tributes from his colleagues and admirers.
It is with profound sadness that we share of the passing of the founder of the West End Cultural Centre, Mitch Podolak. Mitch was a lion of the Canadian music scene and generations of musicians owe a debt of gratitude to his hard work and ingenuity. Our love goes out to Ava and all of Mitch's family and friends. #music #livemusic #livemusicwinnipeg #winnipegmusic #winnipegmusicscene #westendculturalcentre #mitchpodolak
Thinking of the @Winnipegfolk and @TheWECC community on the loss of their founder Mitch Podolak. If you're just learning about him from this - Mitch was in many ways the architect of the Canadian folk festival and the folk music scene. We'll feel his impact for generations. pic.twitter.com/oNe1cAXzTW— Tom Power (@tompowercbc) August 26, 2019
We're saddened to hear of Mitch Podolak's passing. Founder of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, he helped nurture a Cdn folk scene and inspired generations of musicians and organizers. Our thoughts are with the artists and industry members who's lives and careers Mitch was a part of. pic.twitter.com/rovT9YUIim— National Arts Centre (@CanadasNAC) August 26, 2019