Musical moments – at the 2016 Winnipeg Folk Festival.

The power of a musical album that succeeds at evoking something deep within is a beautiful thing, yet a raw live performance has a living power to it that can’t be recorded. A show is not a one way thing, but rather a lively conversation between an artist and a crowd that has potential to go in beautifully unpredictable directions. Even on stage, fellow musicians listen, speak, and encourage each other with subtle glances, smiles, and intimacy that can only come through years of shared experience. The best live photography captures these subtleties in a visual way, and captures the heart of what the crowd falls in love with at the live shows they will remember the rest of their lives.

This weekend will mark my fifth year working as a photographer for the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and looking back at my growing photographic collection it’s interesting to see how it has shifted over the years. I will never claim to have output the best of anything – because there’s always more to learn, and if a year from now I look back at my body of work without feeling that I’ve grown, that is the moment I will be disappointed in myself – but I point myself to continuing to develop an eye for greater subtleties and aim to make better photographs with this clarity of vision.

Last year I only posted a few postcards from the event here on my personal website, though many of you will have seen a lot of my work being used for the festival’s social and print media efforts. The usual photos I release are centred around the greater festival experience, but today I would like to share a few of my personal favourite images of musical moments.

Enjoy, and if you see me out in the festival fields over the coming four days please don’t hesitate to come and say hello!

Elder Mae Louise Campbell and her daughter officially kick off Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016

Elder Mae Louise Campbell and her daughter kick off Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016 with a traditional song and blessing.

The rhythm section of the world-beat Lemon Bucket Orkestra.

The rhythm section of the “Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Party-Punk-Super Band”: the Lemon Bucket Orkestra.

Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Saxophone and twirling dancer

A moment of connection amidst a fast paced set.

Playing, together. (pictured: Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner of Red Moon Road)

Playing, together. (pictured: Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner of Red Moon Road)

Skylar Bouchard takes centre stage in the Young Performers Program

Skylar Bouchard takes centre stage in the Young Performers Program.

Mentorship in the Stringray Young Performers Program


Eric Landry at the Native North America workshop

Eric Landry looks inward as he performs a powerful and intimate song, with just him and his guitar.

Trumpet player from the Lemon Bucket Orkestra

Projection from the back of the stage.

Kelsey Wilson of Wild Child at the Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016

Musicians that shine in workshops are watchful and adaptive to not just their bandmates, but also the other musicians they find themselves sharing the stage with. (pictured: Kelsey Wilson of Wild Child)

San Fermin Drummer: Michael Hanf

One song, four percussionists – another fun mashup you will only find in the festival’s unique workshop format.  Here, they gather around and follow Michael Hanf of San Fermin.

San Fermin vocalists at Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016

Vocalists harmonizing and passing the melody around.

Charlene Kaye of San Fermin at Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016

The line that separates the crowd from the performers is thin.

Crowd at the edge of Winnipeg Folk Festival stage

The other side of that thin line.

Mikaela Davis workshop at the Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016

The crowd goes silent to listen to Mikaela Davis’ ethereal harp song.

The East Pointers at Winnipeg Folk Festival 2017

The East Pointers jam like cousins who’ve done this before. Perhaps because they are, and they have.

Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen at Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016

Local Manitoba loveleys Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen perform with an intimacy that is an extension of their very being.

The Crooked Brothers engage in a group hug on stage with their musical apprentices

Celebrating a performance well done, because why not!? The Crooked Brothers are proud of their apprentices.

Prairie sunset at Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016 - art

At the end of four full days, the sun sets on a field removed of stages. All good things must come to an end, but it’s always comforting to know that the folk fest sun will rise once again with its community the following year.