After a one-year hiatus, the Sherbrook Street Festival will return to West Broadway for its 16th year from Sept. 10 to 11. This year, however, folks can expect to hear music playing from River Avenue to Portage Avenue.
“Instead of closing down Sherbrook, we’re doing pop-up events around the West Broadway area,” Gil Carroll, the festival’s co-director, says. “If people are walking around and hear music, they can follow that, and they’ll find something cool.”
A few years ago, Carroll and Adam Soloway -- also the faces behind Real Love Winnipeg -- were called on by the West Broadway Biz to plan the Sherbrook Street Festival. Carroll says navigating the planning of the festival amid COVID-19 has been a significant shift, but he’s confident that the festival will run smoothly.
“Part of the beauty of music festivals is people coming together, hanging out with their friends, meeting new people or dancing,” he says. “It’s been quite a shift for sure.”
Those who visit the area from Sept. 10 to 11 can enjoy live music at The Beer Can, family programming, activities and free food at the Broadway Neighborhood Centre, DJ sets at Chip’s Vintage, a film screening at the Cinematheque and plenty more.
This year, collaboration has been integral to the festival’s success. The programming will run alongside the University of Winnipeg Student Association’s (UWSA) annual Roll Call event to welcome students back to the fall term. Carroll says the decision to expand the festival to all four corners of the neighbourhood was in part due to safety concerns about occupancy limits, but also to help boost local businesses and community organizations in the area.
Chip’s Vintage is one of several venues in the neighbourhood opening its doors to local artists, musicians and vendors. Andrew Chipman, the owner and operator of the store, says the way the festival is set up this year encourages exploration of the area.
“What I find so interesting about (Sherbrook Street) is how it’s this main vessel of so many different neighbourhoods,” Chipman says. “It’s walkable, it’s bikeable, and it’s such a nice meeting spot.”
Since opening the vintage clothing shop, pop-ups have remained a core part of Chipman’s business model.
“It’s such a great opportunity for me to align myself with people who I think are doing great things in the city,” he says. “Space is always such a barrier or hurdle for some people, so it’s great to be able to be a host and open up my space to others.”
Whether it’s on Sherbrook Street or Portage Avenue, the festival remains committed to its original vision: to spotlight the wonderful people, culture and businesses that call West Broadway home.
“When the festival first started, it was to bring people to the area to show that there’s a lot of awesome people who live around there,” Carroll says. “It’s really just a celebration of that neighbourhood and that community.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/sherbrookstfestival.
Published in Volume 76, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 9, 2021)