The Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival, founded in 2012 by the late Manitoba music legend Kevin Walters, has been organized by True North Sports and Entertainment for the past three years.
“We definitely shared Kevin’s love of music and events so we jumped at the chance to be involved and keep his vision alive,” Alayne Nott, the entertainment marketing director at True North Sports and Entertainment Limited, says.
Walters was a prominent figure in Winnipeg’s entertainment scene, serving as manager of Manitoba Music and Sound, executive director of Manitoba Homecoming 2010 (the year-long celebration marking the province’s 140th birthday), and as project manager for Culture Days Manitoba. He ran the BBQ & Blues Festival for two years before his death.
“BBQ-style food and pro BBQ competitions have gained considerable popularity in recent years and marrying that theme with a celebration of blues music is a really great fit,” Nott says.
The two-day festival will feature some of the best local, national and international blues performers, like James Cotton and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
Another essential part of the event is the “Pit Masters” – a barbeque competition open to amateurs and professionals who compete to get points, cash prizes and a chance to be invited to participate in world championships in the United States.
There are also food and beverage offerings, including public tastings of pro BBQ dishes competitors have prepared.
“There’s something about enjoying great music and delicious food in the heart of Winnipeg’s downtown during the summer – it’s a very cool vibe,” Nott says.