Winnipeg Folk Festival

July 11 to 14

The Winnipeg Folk Festival is now in its 46th year and features a variety of musical genres. Headliners include indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, country artist Kacey Musgraves, hip-hop artist K’NAAN and folk/pop’s Jason Mraz, among many others.

What they all have in common is a positive spirit, according to artistic director Chris Frayer.

“We’re trying to create a good, positive sense of community, and these artists that I mentioned, they all do that … literally through the music. And the kind of vibe that they give off is really one of inclusivity,” Frayer says.

Folk music is also an element of the festival with, among others, a tribute to folk legend Pete Seeger on what would have been his 100th birthday. Seeger played the festival in 1980 and 1985.

Frayer says the festival appeals to a wide audience, young and old, and that a great effort is made to make it attractive to families.

“We also have a big family area. We put a lot of time and money into keeping kids engaged at the festival … where the mom and dad are like ‘I want to go see John Sebastian from The Lovin’ Spoonful’ and the kids are like, ‘we want to go see Alvvays,’” Frayer says.

The broad range of performers can satisfy a diverse range of tastes, but the festival is cohesive because, Frayer says, “All these artists, when you strip everything down, take everything away, there’s really just a great song behind it, a good story.”

Published in Volume 73, Number 25 of The Uniter (May 30, 2019)

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