Winnipeg Folk Festival 2014

The 41st Winnipeg Folk Festival has come and gone.  Once again, an empty field in Bird’s Hill Park was turned into a vibrant community.  We came and we went, but forever we will have the memories. Every year is different but I always leave feeling the same: my head full of music and my heart full of love.

Campground Lineup

The long lineup to get in to the campground is a part of the festival.  Best to relax and enjoy it.

In the tent.

Rest of some sort is usually in order once camp is finally set up.  Rest, and planning.

Long live fun.

“Long live fun…” is a good way to sum up the general attitude towards all aspects of the festival.  Games, art, music, dance, community…long live fun indeed!

Children silhouettes at sunset.

Children gather, making new friends as the sun dips below the prairie horizon.

Wanderers of the festival campground at dusk.

Wanderers of the festival campground at dusk.  This year, new shelters were built as places for gatherings (pictured in the distance here).  Each of these took on a life of their own: be it anything from a web of slacklines for everyone to use to a place for impromptu music jams.

Festival campground at night.

The festival begins early Wednesday morning, but music is limited to Wednesday and Thursday evenings before the daytime stages get going on Friday.  As such, festival campers have plenty of time to creatively fill and give the festival a flavour of their own.  Be it in a quiet circle around the fire…

Festival campground glow bowling.

…or staying up late playing games.  Join in on a game of glow bowling and perhaps even a wandering fiddler will provide a soundtrack.

Pope's Hill at night with fire dancers.

At night, Pope’s Hill lights up.  Here: fire dancers put on a show that is seen both near and far.

Thom Bargen pop-up coffee shop.

Late nights fuel the morning coffee demand.  Thom Bargen‘s pop-up coffee shop was a well received new addition to the campground!

Festival campground chess.

Games don’t always need to be big.

Piñata fun.

A group of friends throw a Mexican themed party at their campsite.  A homemade turtle piñata for the kids, margaritas for the adults, and a wading pool for everyone!

White dress flowing in field.

Once the music begins however, it draws people out of the campground to gather around the stages.

All systems go.

All systems go.

Celia Woodsmith of Della Mae

Celia Woodsmith warms up main stage with her band, Della Mae.

Danny Barnes banjo

Danny Barnes pushing his banjo to its limits.

Main stage sunset

Main stage lights up as the sun sets behind the crowd.  Often the artists are treated to a beautiful prairie sunset that the crowd, fixated on the entertainment, usually does not notice.

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite hit the stage

After dark, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite hit the stage in a flurry of lights, music, and vocals.

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite watches Ben Harper closely as they take turns leading the jam.

Main stage at night

The full moon rises over main stage at night.

Langhorne Slim silhouette

Come Friday morning, big performances are replaced with intimate moments as daytime workshops begin.

Sound crew

Each stage has its own tightly knit crew of volunteers.  These folks work hard to switch over their system for every unique workshop that hits their stage.

Bonnie Paine of Elephant Revival

Bonnie Paine of Elephant Revival making her washboard dance.  As one of my personal favourite music finds this year, I would highly recommend you check out this band.


Shinyribs stomps out an amazing cover of Gin and Bruce that puts a smile on everyone’s face.


Grab someone you love and dance.

Folk sunset

Folk sunset.

The Sheepdogs

The Sheepdogs lay down some blues-tinted rhythms to get the evening crowd moving.

Big Blue at night

Everyone on their feet at Big Blue at night.

Folk Fest exit path

After a long but exciting day, weary feet shuffle along the exit path…

Boy drumming solo

…but the rhythm begins early again the next morning.

Shovels and Rope

Shovels and Rope have the crowd hanging on their every word.

Marc Simard

Marc Simard is one of the many talented creators that make up the Hand-Made Village.  Using recycled, off-cut, and scrap materials (leather, wood, fabric…) he creates unique accessories and art, or as I see it: accessories that are art.

Essence of clarity: water

Water: essential for hot day survival.

Rainy festival

Water: also what mother nature had in store for Saturday.

Drumming up a storm just after the storm

When the initial blast of storm winds hit, seven of us jumped up to brace the backdrop (pictured here behind the drummer) as the band finished what would be their last song.  Music was put on hold until the storm warning passed 30 minutes later.  This drummer from The Wooden Sky was eager to drum up a storm just after the storm.

High spirits in the rain

Despite the rain, people remained in high spirits.

Staying warm in the rain

Blankets morphed from seats into cloaks.

Little Miss Higgins in rubber boots

Even Little Miss Higgins was prepared for the mud on Sunday.

Big Dave McLean hops on stage

Little Miss Higgins spotted local blues legend Big Dave McLean in the crowd enjoying her workshop.  When her turn came around she invited him on stage to sing along to one of his songs.

Workshop jam

Musicians feeding off one another during a workshop jam.

 Patrick Alexandre on the harmonica

Patrick Alexandre on the harmonica.

Joan Baez at the Pete Seeger tribute workshop

Joan Baez, Ani DiFranco, and a crew of other passionate musicians raise their voices at the Pete Seeger tribute workshop.

Sarah Lee Guthree shares Pete Seeger stories

Sarah Lee Guthree shares stories of her friendship with Pete Seeger.

Jake Shimabukuro at Pete Seeger tribute

Though it was Jake Shimabukuro‘s first Winnipeg Folk Festival, he and his ukulele were a welcome and much appreciated part of this special workshop that gathered old Festival friends.

Faces we will see again

Faces we will likely see again (and again) as the festival continues year by year.  From left to right: Ani DiFranco, Joan Baez, Sarah Lee Guthrie, and Johnny Irion.