Winnipeg's music festivals are bringing an embarrassment of riches to the city this summer
If you are like us, and you have been closely following the announcements of every music act playing in the city this summer, you are sure to have been floored more than thrice.
In fact, in quick succession after Jazz Winnipeg revealed their headliner(s) -- which came on the heels of Interstellar Rodeo and Folk Fest lineup announcements -- people in our office were acting like the audience of Ellen during her "12 Days of Giveaways"; there were hugs, there were tears of joy, there was dancing around our cubicles while our director of marketing sprayed us down in a champagne shower (a few laptops may have been ruined in the process).
At one point an intern simply fainted, folding like a cheap tent as if he were a hungover groomsman at a wedding ceremony in the heat of the August sunshine waiting for the "I do's."
And why were we -- and every big music fan in the city so happy? Well, just read below our festival by festival breakdown and it will become apparent.
Winnipeg Folk Festival (July 6-9, Birds Hill Provincial Park)
It all started last month with the big Folk Fest lineup announcement -- a parade of names so big that we had to do a double take that this was not in fact Coachella.
For starters, you have Feist, who will be showcasing her brand new album Pleasure -- which is her first LP in six years. We first saw her live at the Winnipeg Folk Fest back in 2005, when she put together a solo version of "Mushaboom" using a loop pedal that had everyone fawning.
When Leslie Feist plays "Intuition" you are allowed to feel all the emotions
Other big names include The Shins -- James Mercer's major music project that continues to age like a fine Barolo, along with Canadian singer/songwriter/legends Bruce Cockburn, City and Colour, Daniel Lanois, and the Barenaked Ladies.
Plus, you have Brandi Carlile, Camper Van Beethoven, John K. Samson and the Winter Wheat (which surely will get some huge local love) and Choir! Choir! Choir! -- that huge group of Torontonians who have sung with so many notable artists, making viral video after viral video. In all, there are over 70 artists to see perform over the course of three days.
This glutton of musical riches aside, Folk Fest itself is an atmosphere like no other, with an overall mood that is nearly as joyous as a playpen full of husky puppies. Most of the stages are located within little woodsy areas, people dance like there's no one watching, the food available is amazing -- all of it from some of the city's best food trucks and restaurants, and there's a ton of family friendly festivities to be had throughout the festival.
Get your Folk Fest tickets here.
TD International Jazz Festival (June 15-25, venues across Winnipeg)
The first big music festival of the summer creates a party atmosphere across the downtown core -- particularly the Exchange District -- for 10 whole days.
This year's Jazz Fest is composed of over 50 performances, with several free shows that will see the crowds pack Old Market Square for one big dance party to the sounds coming from the Cube Stage.
On the musician front, Jazz Fest isn't just about jazz -- although they have that in spades too. The first major headliner they announced is Mavis Staples -- the R&B and gospel legend who has been wowing the world with her voice since the 1950s. She has recorded and collaborated with so many incredible artists, including Bob Dylan, Jeff Tweedy, Ray Charles, and most recently, Arcade Fire. She'll be playing The Burton Cummings Theatre on Wednesday, June 21.
And speaking of Arcade Fire and The Burt, the first time we saw another Jazz Fest headliner was when they opened for them at said venue way back in the early 2000s. That band is Wolf Parade, whose Apologies to the Queen Mary is one of the best albums of all time, and whose follow-up albums At Mount Zoomer and Expo 86 are some of the most underrated albums of all time (take that Pitchfork -- both of those albums should be in the 9s, not in the 7s -- you bunch of hosers!). We once saw them close a show at a small bar in Seattle and they finished with a 15-minute version of "Kissing the Beehive" that literally made some American kids heads explode -- it was just that epic. Anyway, they will be making their return to The Burt on Friday, June 23.
It's okay, this version of "Life on Mars" bring us to tears too
On top of that, you have Brazilian renaissance man Seu Jorge, who will be performing his now-classic The Life Aquatic soundtrack, which presents some of the best songs by the late great David's Bowie work into Portuguese accompanied by some soul-touching nylon string guitar. He'll also be playing The Burt, Sunday, June 18.
Interstellar Rodeo (August 18-20, The Forks)
Winnipeg's newest major music festival has only released one headliner thus far -- but boy, oh boy, what a performer he is. Josh Tillman -- aka Father John Misty -- is about as good as it gets right now, with lyrics like a modern day sardonic Leonard Cohen, a voice that could crush a cantaloupe with its beauty, and a stage presence that the late great Prince would surely approve of.
His newest album, Pure Comedy, which just came out this week, is already getting huge acclaim (notwithstanding the 7.6 from Pitchfork, because, as we were saying, those pretentious chumps don't count), while his first two Misty albums Fear Fun and I Love You, Honeybear will surely soon be considered modern day classics. Anyway, seeing this guy perform at The Forks is going to be special, while the full lineup for Interstellar Rodeo is going to be announced on May 9. To wet your whistle, we can allude to performers from the first two I Rodeos, which included Wilco, Case/Lang/Viers, Serena Ryder and Vance Joy.
Expect Josh to bring down the house just like this at The Forks
Tickets go on sale May 10 and can be found here.
But wait, there is more!
And peeps, this is just three of the city's major music festivals happen this summer. On top of this, you also have Winnipeg BBQ & Blues (August 2017), the Summer Entertainment Series at Assiniboine Park, Aboriginal Day Live (June 21, at The Forks), Manito Ahbee Festival (May 17-21, at the RBC Convention Centre), and MEME (the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition, August 10-13), all of which will have announcements soon regarding the spectacular live musical acts you'll be able to enjoy.
And finally, there are still some seats available for a very special show featuring two of Winnipeg's best -- that being Royal Canoe playing with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra -- on Thursday, May 25 at the Centennial Concert Hall that you can buy here.
So book your hotel rooms and get your tickets now, because this is going to be a summer of sweet, sweet sounds here in The Peg.