Favourite local fest


1. The Winnipeg Folk Festival
2. Rainbow Trout
3. Winnipeg Fringe Festival

I dare you to find one Winnipegger who hasn’t spent a day strolling through the Winnipeg Folk Festival grounds, or at least a bitter soul who hasn’t had thoughts of sneaking into the festival campground.

The reach of Manitoba’s largest and fastest growing festival is expansive and the appreciation for the annual July weekend of music and whale’s tales sits close to cult status. 

However, the success of the 41-year-old festival boils down to more than just ample beer tents, solid musical lineups and and the loosest dress code known to humankind (butterfly pasties and tie-dye sarongs, anyone?).

“The festival is a chance for local musicians and Manitoba artists to be on a world class stage and to play with other artists from around the world,” former Folk Fest board member and volunteer media crew co-ordinator/current main stage camera director and 40-year veteran John Prentice explains. “It provides exposure for those artists and a chance to learn from musicians from all over.”

While the festival is an important aspect of the Winnipeg music scene, Prentice also expresses how it opens audience members’ eyes to music being made all around the globe.

“From listening to someone on stage to dancing with your friends, or to spending time with your family, the basic atmosphere of the Festival has always been the same,” Prentice says. “It’s a safe environment to experience magical moments.”

Another 40 year veteran and past volunteer (co-ordinator of the party crew) Laura Dacquisto likens the popularity of Folk Fest to it being a summer tradition of many festival goers.

“You experience a warmth just from being there,” Dacquisto states. “There’s so much variety with the music that anyone you bring will find something.”

Prentice adds how the festival’s ideal prairie setting contributes to the magical atmosphere. 

“We can’t forget the gift we have which is Birds Hill Park,” Prentice says. “Whether you get to experience northern lights, sunsets or if it’s the first beautiful weekend of the year, it’s a celebration of summer and I always look forward to that. And with beautiful music added in of course.”

Part of the series: The Uniter 30

Published in Volume 69, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 7, 2015)

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