My Town Monday and the Winnipeg Folk Festival

I’ve spent twenty summers going to the Winnipeg Folk Festival. This summer I’m not there – physically – but I can still feel its vibes, and I’d like to share some of those with you. Here are twenty facts about this most amazing musical, spiritual, and community experience.

1. The Winnipeg Folk Festival always happens on the second weekend of July. (The weekend starts on a Wednesday.)

2. The Winnipeg Folk Festival site is at Birds Hill Provincial Park – about half an hour northeast of Winnipeg.

3. The Festival began as a one time event back in 1974 by Mitch Podolak and Colin Gorrie. That’s 37 years ago!

4. In an effort to provide a quality experience, 2010 is the first time that attendance will be capped at 14, 000 per day. (No more waiting to see what the weather will be like.) It’s sold out this year.

5. Only 6000 campers are allowed. Sites are unserviced.

6. The Festival generally avoids the big names in music – but some star attractions have included Blue Rodeo, Elvis Costello, Bare Naked Ladies, Great Big Sea and Bruce Cockburn.

7. The ‘morning tarp run’ is a chaotic scene where thousands of people are let through the gate to place their tarp in front of the mainstage. Scary!

8. Small venue workshops start at 11:30 a.m. and offer an intimate setting for your favorite (and soon to be favorite) acts.

9. Handmade Village offers unique items from soaps to walking sticks to clothes, ear rings and bracelets.

10. Whale’s Tails are an annual must at the Food Village. So are the fantastic fruit shakes.

11. No glass, alcohol or other ‘stuff’ is allowed into the festival area.

12. 2200 volunteers make the festival work. It’s amazing how it’s all organized. I volunteered for a few years as ‘site security’. It was a super experience. And the food? Wow. The volunteers and the performers get exceptional food.

13. There are two campgrounds at the Festival site. ‘Festival’ and ‘quiet’. My family has only camped at the ‘quiet’ site. We learned quickly to choose a camping spot with some shade.

14. There’s poison ivy out there, so stay on the trails. (Our family learned this the hard way.)

15. Wristbands define your status as a camper, weekender, or daily visitor.

16. Family Area is for kids. Big sand dune, crafts, and kid-friendly music. Our family spent many hours over the years in this area.

17. Young Performers Stage is a way for budding artists to perform and be mentored by older, more experienced musicians.

18. The average age at the folk festival? Every age. From newborn to 93.

19. My favorite memory? Watching my three kids wiggle their little bums to the music.

20. Second favorite memory? Seeing a most awesome rainbow while being surrounded by swaying people as beautiful music pulses through the air. (After we'd all been soaked by the rain!)

Twenty summers with my kids. Good vibes!

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Travis Erwin said...

Sounds like a great event. I hope to visit Canada one of these days though my list of things I'd like to do is long enough for a hundred trips at this point.

Reb said...

The tarp run sounds a bit scary!

Barbara Martin said...

Music festivals are a great way to get out and enjoy the summer.

Barrie said...

I remember seeing Bruce Cockburn when he was playing the university circuit!

Theresa Milstein said...

2,200 volunteers? The event must be enormous! I've never gone to a big music festival. But I like gathering with a big group of people, like for the Boston Fourth of July fireworks from the Cambridge side.

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