Forty-three young performers had their moment in the sun at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Musicians from across Canada were selected to participate in the Stingray Young Performers Program during the Festival at Birds Hill Provincial Park. The program got underway in 2000 and continues to have an impact in the music industry.
While the main stage at the 45th annual Winnipeg Folk Festival will feature big names in the industry, such as Sheryl Crow and Natalie MacMaster, the Shady Grove stage on July 6 was the platform for the young talent, such as Winnipegger Taylor Janzen and Ava Wild from Regina, Sask.
Janzen told the Winnipeg Sun she felt really good about her performance. She is hoping the exposure at the Winnipeg Folk Fest will help launch her career that will enable her to perform outside of Winnipeg and in other locations across Canada.
“I’m really inspired by artists that are vulnerable and really transparent in their writing. I try to let myself get as much as that as possible in my writing. I try to make it an extension of myself, rather than making music for the sake of making music,” she said.
The 19-year-old said she makes music for herself, but she shares it for other people. She wants to be able to help others articulate their feelings through her writing.
“It’s important to be able to articulate your feelings,” the Springs Christian Academy graduate said.
Janzen, who was seen performing on stage while wearing a T-shirt with the image of Dennis Quaid, explained she named one of her songs after the actor even though the song doesn’t have anything to do about Quaid.
“I really like Dennis Quaid. I think he’s a great actor and I think he’d be a cool pal and I would love to hang out with him one day,” she added.
Nineteen-year-old Wild, who had her first public show in Regina when she was 14-years-old, said she is more ambitious now than ever.
This was Wild’s first time performing at the Folk Fest. She is no stranger to performing at festivals in Canada and after her stage performance, Wild said the Young Performers Program is a great way to participate in the Festival.
“It’s very intimate…This is definitely the largest festival that I have played. I think the coolest thing is it’s always the people who make it so unique,” Wild said. “The young performers program is really cool because I get to meet other people my own age, who are also ambitious about music.
Wild noted how taking part has helped her to become more inspired to collaborate more in the future with fellow musicians.
“I am inspired to collaborate more and always work better on my craft, especially seeing such talented people, who are my own age,” Wild added. “I don’t know of any other festival that does this type of thing.”
Seventeen out of the 43 young performers were from Winnipeg. Wild is also hopeful the connections she made at Folk Fest will help her collaborate with some of these artists next time she comes through Winnipeg.
Winnipeg resident Andrew Depape decided to return to Folk Fest after experiencing all that it had to offer last year. He was seen watching the young performers program as his best friend, who is a member of Walking on Ropes participated in the young performers program.
“It’s interesting to see young people perform music. The big names were definitely in this position sometime before,” he said. “This could be the next Sheryl Crow.
Taking to the main stage on Saturday is Mandolin Orange at 6 p.m., Las Cafetears at 7:05 p.m., Whitney at 8:25 p.m. Bahamas at 9:45 p.m. and A Tribe Called Red at 11:05 p.m. Too Many Zooz hits the Big Blue at Night stage at 11:15 p.m.