Rainbow Trout Music Festival

Indie music and arts on the Roseau River

Floating down the Roseau River is a popular pastime.

Photo by Rachel Sarah

Rainbow Trout Music Festival (RTMF) is a three-day indie music festival that takes place on the third weekend in August each year. Festival-goers head to the banks of the Roseau River, just a short drive south of St. Malo, Man. 

“We do this because we love to be out there and have fun at the festival,” Jamil Mahmood says. “And I think this comes through to people who attend.”

Mahmood, board chair of the festival, also helped found RTMF. The festival features music in many genres, including rock, electro, hip-hop, blues, folk and more. Most of the artists are local, but each year a handful of out-of-towners are invited to play.

In addition to music and camping, festival attendees can shop at vendor booths that feature a variety of local artisans to purchase items such as jewelry, zines and pottery. They can also enjoy a variety of art projects that are installed throughout the festival site and serve as both landmarks and beautiful pieces of art, like the larger-than-life-sized colouring book created for last year’s festival.

There are also fire pits and free water, but the location doesn’t have cell service.

“We’re more than happy to power down for the weekend,” Mahmood says. “We imagine that the lack of wifi helps people physically connect more with one another and communicate face to face.”

The festival, which is 100 per cent volunteer-driven, started with a handful of close friends and an idea. 

“The first year of the fest was just a total unsanctioned, unorganized festival,” Mahmood says. “It was more a bunch of friends gathering in the woods with bands.”

Since then, RTMF has lined up the proper insurance and permits to ensure attendees have a safe – as well as fun – time. Now, eight years in, more than 900 people attend every year to enjoy the music and welcoming atmosphere. 

Explore the full lineup for the festival on their website.

WHEN Aug. 18 to 20

WHERE Near St. Malo, Man.

$$$ Will be posted on their website over the summer

DON'T MISS Floating down the Roseau River

WEBSITE rainbowtroutmusicfestival.com

Published in Volume 71, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 1, 2017)

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