Celebrating Winnipeg’s diverse scene

photo by Andrew Mazurak
photo by Andrew Mazurak

by Jenna Priestner

Imagine you are from anywhere in Canada but here. What comes to mind when you think of Winnipeg? Would you want to live here? Chances are your answers would be “It’s cold” and “No.” It is sad but true; I can vouch for it. That was me two years ago while residing in BC. I never for a second imagined myself living here, but ask me today how it has been and I will tell you I have never been happier.

As a musician who has lived in Alberta, BC and Manitoba, I have found Winnipeg to be the most positive place so far and I owe that to the people who live here. Whether you are a musician, producer, bar owner or just plain music lover, you never cease to amaze me with your support and talent. We have an award-winning music scene here that only continues to grow with each year; and this is our year to shine Winnipeg! If one of us succeeds we all succeed. There is so much love and support within this city; but the key is to show that same support to those bands and artists who tour through year-round. We know what beauty we have, but those who think Winnipeg sucks, have no idea what they are missing.

I have seen countless bands come through town and say to the audience with great sincerity, “this is the best show we have ever played here.” They go on to mention how the turnout was low last time and no one was into it. That is not how we should be seen! It is up to us as musicians, music fans and more importantly a city to get them talking on the road and back home about how great a time they had in Winnipeg. It is up to us to keep this city on the map and I think that is exactly what we are doing, but there is always room for improvement. The more artists touring through, the more opportunities we as local bands have to be part of those gigs, which in turn allows us to show off our talents.

It is not only the musicians, but we owe it to the photographers, magazines, film-makers, managers, festivals, college radio stations, podcasts and Manitoba Music etc. for believing in and helping market our city so well. No matter your place in Winnipeg’s music scene we all have each other’s backs and that is how it should always remain.

Winnipeg is diverse when it comes to culture and music and that in itself is inspiring, but what inspires me most as a female artist in the city is the amount of talented female musicians/bands here. We have stepped so far outside the singer/songwriter box it is incredible. Ladies are rocking harder than ever and for that I commend you! Us ladies have all been young girls with a guitar (or what have you) in our hands looking for someone to look up to. Young girls these days are incredibly lucky to have those role models right here in their own city.

It is important to recognize the continuing growth of the music scene in Winnipeg and to pass that along to others in Canada, and the world for that matter, whether it be through touring, blogging or just going out to a show on a cold winter night. Other cities in Canada may have more opportunities in certain industries, but when it comes to creating music and art, all you need is a home and our homes just happen to be in Winnipeg.


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