by Zach Fleisher
The Good, the Bad and the Folked
One of my roles within Stylus Magazine has been to scurry around the Winnipeg Folk Festival, just to talk about it; tell the story and elaborate on my experience. With that in mind, I’m writing a couple of quick posts elaborating on what I enjoy, aspects that I didn’t like as much and…well, the more unique aspects of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. I’m not sure if this is going to be a daily kind of feature, but we’ll try to keep those in the city updated as we go.
The new food village is a surprising success; whereas it has been awkward navigating towards the main stage through a complicated mess of food hungry festers, one can now bypass them completely. As well, the new area features a tee-pee like structure that creates a central meeting place, as well as a gorgeous centralized area that allows you to eat your meal before heading back to your tarp. Speaking of tarps, anyone know of any other festival in the world that focuses so much on setting down ones tarp in such an organized chaos? Get at me if you do, as I’d like to see it.
I camped at the Folk Festival last year and had a blast, just as a regular attendee and loved it. I’ll be missing the Friday completely because of a friend’s wedding and have to say that the festival doesn’t seem the same without fully submerging into festival and campground culture. Coming in on a bus in clean, regular clothing with a good nights sleep from the evening previous just doesn’t allow you to mesh with the mood of the festival. I also found it difficult to immediately immerse myself into the culture at hand; I guess in the end it not as much of a negative aspect for the festival as is for my personal experience.
ALSO- The Avett Brothers performed at the Main Stage on the first evening and they sound like a southern version of Mumford and Suns. Still not entirely sure if this is positive or negative yet… depends on your point of view.
Arriving before the main stage festivities for the first time, I got to take in what is apparently a long time tradition at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, which is having an elder bless or give greetings for the festival. Considering our location and history as a nation and a region, it was really quite inspiring to see that the Winnipeg Folk Festival has this happening; a moment of serene meditation in an otherwise extremely chaotic and crazy environment. Gotta give a hand to the organizers for putting that together.
Would be cool to see a greater focus on transportation for the festival. I like what the Winnipeg Folk Festival does with Transit buses, providing free transit to and from the festival grounds, connecting back to the city. However, they don’t seem to offer a lot of frequency for this and a lot of people seemed to be turned away as they waited and then had to wait another half hour for a bus. I’m not sure what direction the organizers want to go in, but they could consider changing that up for sure.