Reputation of fun and family continues at Folk Fest

East Selkirk residents Reagan Croy and her brother Ryan Croy show their enthusiasm for volunteering at the 45th annual Winnipeg Folk Festival at Birds Hill Provincial Park, south east of Selkirk, Man., on Friday, July 6, 2018. (Brook Jones/Selkirk Journal/Postmedia Network) Brook Jones / Selkirk Journal

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The reputation of the Winnipeg Folk Festival being a major destination on the festival circuit in North America continued once again this year.

The 45th annual Festival which ran July 5 to 8 and thrilled not only thousands of Manitobans, but those from across Canada and the U.S.
Stefan Hebert, who is from Winnipeg, but now lives in B.C., said that he just couldn’t miss attending this year’s Folk Festival. It was his fifth year in a row attending.

“It’s the people. I have lots of friends in Winnipeg and the vibe here you can’t compare to anywhere else,” Hebert said.

Sheryl Crow took to the main stage Sunday on the final day of the four-day event. This year’s Festival featured other big names in the music industry, such as Natalie MacMaster, Whitney, Bahamas, The Strumbellas, Five Alarm Funk, and Too Many Zooz.

“They are fantastic and I can’t believe they are playing in this heat. It’s incredible – their stamina, their energy and the music is absolutely fantastic,” said Chris Pancoe, who was attending the Festival with his six-year-old daughter.
Pancoe said that out of all the large music festivals, the Folk Festival is one of the most civilized.

“It’s a really great vibe,” he said. “It’s really family friendly and fun for everyone.”
The 45th edition not only featured musical talent commonly recognized in the industry, but also provided a platform for up and comers in the music industry during the Stingray Young Performers Program. The program included 43 music artists, such as Winnipeg’s Taylor Janzen, Regina’s Ava Wild, Anna M Johnson of Sherwood Park, Alta., Ben Heffernan of London, Ont., and Dugald’s Nic Dyson.

“I really want to play shows in Canada,” said Janzen, who is set to release a new EP called “Interpersonal” on Aug. 10.

Eighteen-year-old Sasha Kullman was seen riding her CCM Cruiser bicycle from the Festival grounds at Birds Hill Provincial Park to the campground.
The Winnipeg resident, who has an over-use injury, needed to retrieve her bike from home as she injured her foot on the second day of the Festival because she was doing so much walking.

“I needed to get to and from my tent without hurting myself anymore,” she said about pedaling her bike around the Festival.
It was her third Festival in a row. She said the highlight for her was seeing Whitney perform live on stage.

“What I love about Whitney is that they have a really unique sound as falsetto. It’s really interesting to listen to,” she said. “(their music) is great for summer car rides.”
The Winnipeg resident, who attends each year with a group of friends, said she’ll be back next year for the music.

“I discover a lot of new artists here… It’s a great community with great people,” she added. “The energy has been great this year. This has actually been one of my best years here. Everyone is super friendly and super nice. You never have to worry about leaving your stuff in your tent – there is a great sense of trust here.”

Oakbank resident Kimberley Frailick attended her eighth consecutive Festival. This year she was thrilled to see The Strumbellas and Five Alarm Funk.

“It was my first time seeing them (Five Alarm Funk) and I fell in love,” Frailack said. “I like the dancing.”

Each year Frailick is dedicated to bringing out more and more of her friends. This year she noted how she brought out 15 or 16 of her friends.

“I’ve shown more people their first Folk Fest this year than I have in the past and that makes me so happy,” Frailick said. “I love it so much that I want all my friends to enjoy it and see why I love it.”

Frailack brought out her friend Stephanie Kowalski, who is from Beausejour.
Kowalski said the atmosphere at this year’s festival was great. What she enjoyed the most about this year’s Festival was the camping experience.

“Everyone is so friendly, and so welcoming and very spiritual,” she added.