South of St. Malo // August 15-17
Big Names // n/a
Local talent // Sibyl, Surprise Party, Not Animals and more
Cost // Day passes are $20-$30. Weekend passes are sold out.
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The sixth annual Rainbow Trout Music Festival may be the best time you have all summer.
“There's something for everybody,” Andrea Davis, a member of the fest’s nine-member board, explains. “There's a place to swim, great food, beautiful crafts, happy people, and naked babies.”
Tucked into a parcel of land near Rosseau River, RTMF has a loyal following who breed an infectious energy surrounding it. Weekend passes sold out in just two weeks.
“I had just packed a bathing suit, just worn what I was wearing to work, and I didn't go back into the city at all,” three-year veteran Chris Samms says with a laugh, describing last year’s experience. “I just lived in my bathing suit and t-shirt for the whole weekend because it was so fun. I didn't want to miss anything.”
Samms also designs the festival’s promotional material, which speaks to its laidback nature. Another board member, Jodie Layne, believes the artists’ work captures the vibe of what the festival is all about.
“It's fun, playful, and goofy but still really amazing and beautiful and I think that's what we're all about, doing everything really well but keeping that sense of play and fun,” Layne says. “We don't take ourselves too seriously, but we take the product we give to people, the music and the art, really seriously.”
Samms’ band, Not Animals, will be kicking off the three days of musical bliss, which he describes as an honour.
“Each band is individual, they all have their own thing going on,” Samms says. “Together as a whole it's a nice sampling of music, and Manitoba music at that.”
Providing a diverse musical selection and a mix of more established and emerging bands is also a goal.
“We love when people come out and see bands they love, but we also want people to come out and see bands that they've never known existed and now they're in love with them,” Layne says.
Another intention of RTMF is developing and maintaining a solid sense of community, “making sure our numbers are big enough so it's sustainable financially, but small enough so everyone feels welcome and comfortable being there,” Layne says. “We also try and make our line up and the arts and crafts vendors representative of the community and all of the great things that are happening.”
RTMF also hosts such year-round community-oriented activities as bike jams, concerts, and carolling, and the dedication to building that community may just be the reason for its success.
“Anything you put a lot of heart and soul into and throw a lot of late nights and curse words into, it feels good when people respond to that in a positive way,” Layne says. “It's gone from hustling really hard for every single thing and having to prove to people why Rainbow Trout is a good thing, to people just understanding who we are and what we do. We've all put in a lot of hard work, but it's the community that makes it what it is.”