Rainbow Trout Music Festival

A three-day-long hug

“Delicious food, delicious people, delicious music,” declares one of the Rainbow Trout attendees in a preview featuring clips from the festival last year, dubbed “The Magical Mystery Trout.” The video captures festival goers lounging in the sun as they listen to music, play around in the water and dance around a stage during a show at night.

“I like to think of the fest as a three-day-long warm hug,” Ben Jones says, one of the festival’s nine board members. “You can float down the Oroseau River, laughing and hanging out with all of your friends with beautiful music setting the perfect soundtrack.”

Rainbow Trout organizers have taken measures to make this year’s festival more inclusive and comfortable for attendees with a safe space policy, clean drinking water and shelter from the sun, though it wasn’t always this way. 

“It used to be pure DIY,” Jones says. “It was bring your own toilet paper, nothing will be supplied to you. It was like Burning Man on a tiny scale, and we still want that same idea, that people are there to take care of themselves, and to take care of others, but we’re going to actually supply you with everything we need as much as we can.”

This year is the festival’s seventh iteration. It all starts on Fri., Aug. 19 and goes until Sunday evening at the Oroseau campground, approximately one hour southeast of Winnipeg. Attendees can get excited over a talented lineup, featuring local acts like Basic Nature, Beth and Well Sister. 

The small scale of the event nurtures a sort of camaraderie, something Jones mentions that makes Rainbow Trout a special experience. 

“The distance from your tent to any given area on the site is less than five minutes away,” he says. “And if you’re still too lazy to walk there, someone will lend/give you whatever it is you’re looking for.”

Published in Volume 70, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 2, 2016)

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