Lifetime Achievement

Celebrating outstanding achievements

The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented each year during the annual International Folk Music Awards. The awards are presented to a living recipient, a memorial recipient, and an organization or recognized academic. FAI members can nominate a candidate here.

Past Recipients (1995-2022)

Click the links below to see Lifetime Achievement Award videos on YouTube.





2023 Janis Ian Josh White Oh Boy Records
2022 Flaco Jiménez Nanci Griffith Swallow Hill Music
2021 Gordon Lightfoot Celia Cruz Putumayo
2020 BeauSoleil Mahalia Jackson

Preservation Hall

Jamie McKew

2019 Joni Mitchell Leonard Cohen fRoots

Peter, Paul & Mary*

Ale Möller

Richie Havens Elektra Records

David Amram,

Dónal Lunny

Malvina Reynolds Helen Creighton
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 recipient has passed.