2019 Winnipeg Folk Festival
I attended my very first Winnipeg Folk Festival this July. This large scale, 4 day, outdoor event is in it’s 46th season and I was impressed at how organized and relaxed it is. The festival takes place at Birds Hill Provincial Park, and they generally expect 80,000 visitors. Many of those people stay for the 4 days and camp. It doesn’t feel like there are that many people there. The traffic moves smoothly and everyone is happy and comfortable. I was there on the Saturday and the sun was scorching, but there was always water available to drink and shower in.
The Folk Festival is a big deal in Winnipeg. People have attended for generations and it has become family tradition. Many stores close for Folk Fest like it’s some sort of civic holiday. The Winnipeg Folk Fest has become ingrained in the Winnipeg and surrounding Manitoba culture.
Besides being famous locally, the event has become internationally recognized as a world class music event. Musicians, vendors and attendees come from all over the world to participate.
Photographer Stewart Boughen captured some beautiful images. Focussing on the Canadian talent of the Saturday festivities, here are the highlights:
MAIN STAGE – THE SHEEPDOGS
Since 2006 – Saskatoon, Sasketchewan, Canada
The Sheepdogs are a Canadian rock band formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 2006. The group consists of lead singer and guitarist Ewan Currie, lead guitarist Jimmy Bowskill, bass guitarist Ryan Gullen, drummer Sam Corbett, and Shamus Currie, brother of Ewan, playing trombone, keyboards, tambourine, and electric guitar. They’ve released 6 full length albums and numerous EPs. The Sheepdogs were the highlight of the Main Stage on Saturday and they did not disappoint. I was captivated.
Since 2012 – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Mariel Buckley is a Canadian country/alternative/folk pop singer-songwriter based in Calgary, Alberta. She released her self-titled EP in 2012 and released her sophomore full-length, Driving In The Dark, a year ago.
Since 1999 – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Kathleen Edwards is a Canadian alt-country artist. She has released four carefully-crafted albums over the course of her career, and each one has garnered Juno Awards nominations in Album of the Year categories and three Songwriter of the Year Juno nods.
Since 2013(?) – Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
During hundreds of shows played over the past five
years, Luca has shared the stage with the likes of Serena Ryder, Frazey Ford, Hayden,
Dermot Kennedy, and countless others.
Writing and performing tirelessly, Luca’s catalogue has amassed over 8 million digital streams with no ceiling in sight. His newest single “I Don’t Want To Lose You” has been featured in episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19 and NCIS: Los Angeles, and has been spun over 3 million times.
Since 2015 – Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada
Colter Wall is an Americana/Folk/Outlaw Country singer-songwriter. His first full-length album, self-titled Colter Wall, was released on May 12, 2017 and according to Wall, most of the songs on the album are autobiographical.
His latest album, Songs of the Plains, was released on October 12, 2018.
Since 2015 – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
William Prince is a Winnipeg-based Canadian folk and country singer-songwriter, who won the Juno Award for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2017 for his debut album Earthly Days. He performs both as a solo artist, and alongside Vince Fontaine and Don Amero in the band Indian City. He released his debut album Earthly Days in 2015. Prince won a Western Canadian Music Award for Aboriginal Artist of the Year in 2016, and received a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year at the 12th Canadian Folk Music Awards. The album was a double Juno Award nominee for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year and Indigenous Music Album of the Year at the 2017 Juno Awards.