Winnipeg Folk Festival 2013 and some tips for 2014 – Guest post by Kara

18 Jul

Guest post by Kara Jones from Herby Hats:

PicMonkey Collage This year marked the Winnipeg Folk Festivals 40th anniversary, and it was a pleasure to be a part of it. Celebrating their birthday through music, dance & art, was just amazing.

We Jones’ have been attending the Winnipeg Folk Festival since 2005, and in these past years, we’ve learned how to survive outdoors the whole time without a need to travel back to the city for a day of refuge! Here’s a little run down of what we do to make the best out of the festival.
Tuesday before the festival: Gather all camping supplies needed, Clothes for the week are all sorted out and packed, fun glow sticks & kids activities are packed (something to keep them occupied during main stage) and we pack the van! The only thing that isn’t packed the night before is the cooler! I do that on Wednesday.
Wednesday at 4:00am my husband wakes up and gathers the tent & tarp along with his backpack (with a couple of beers & ice pack) in it, loads up the kids trailer, and heads out! He bikes out to the festival as part as the Green initiative the festival offers that allows you to by-pass all the people in vehicles, to get a better camping spot (Proud to say, we got a spot in the tree line! Very important to have to survive the weekend when you have children). Sometime in the afternoon, I get the kids ready to go, load up the cooler and bed linens (pillows & sleeping buddies the kids need) and we head on our way!
There is  A LOT of walking required to get from the Festival Campground to the Festival site, so to keep the kids in good spirit, we ensure we have a proper mode of transportation (Bikes!).
Along with Bikes & camping in the trees, it’s VERY important to have a water holding device of some sort: Reusable Mugs/Water Bottles, and keep Hydrated!! Should be kept with you at all times! The last thing you need is you or the children to get heat stroke! They have water taps all over the campground and festival site marked with a HUGE blue flags indicating a water tap! A Hat that you can soak under the tap and put on your head, keeps you awake and fresh feeling helps too! There are some showers around, feel free to turn them on and stand under them for a few minutes to cool your body down!
The Winnipeg Folk Festival has been making changes to the festival site slowly. They added the permanent La Cuisine station a couple years ago, and now they added the permanent food vendor stations! So much better than having a bunch of ‘food trucks’ lined up!
Being a volunteer, they feed us 3 meals a day, and 2-3 snack times. It’s a huge money saver for our family, and not to mention, saves us from hauling rubber maids full of food, to and from the campsite. Even though all our food is supplied,  I always go walking to see who’s there.
It was a surprise to see a Chocolatier Constance Popp at the festival! When we seen that, we popped on in, and got ourselves some AMAZING Chocolate Popsicles!!  Yum! It was just what we needed! They didn’t melt fast, so the kids actually had time to eat them instead of wearing it! I was very pleased 🙂
We also came across Lovey’s BBQ joint, when I saw that, I just had to have a pulled pork poutine, so I looked at the volunteer menu, and decided that I will fore-go the Lamb dinner and get a BBQ pulled pork poutine! I must say, the line up was long, they lost my order (but as soon as they found out, they sent my order out right away) but the food was fantastic despite the little set backs! You’re bound to run into problems when it’s your first time attending a festival like this.
They always have something for everyone food wise at the festival!  The same goes for Music!  Always something for everyone!
With having our kids there (ages 6 & 4 years old) we have a tendency to spend a lot of our day at the Chickadee tent, where we enjoy crafts of many sorts, games, and Family entertainment! On Sunday they have a Parade after the last Childrens Performer – This year was a “Wild Bird” theme, so the kids were making their own Bird Costumes!
We had two favorites we had to see every time they were scheduled to perform, Manitoba’s very own Madame Diva and Nova Scotia’s Rich Aucoin.
Madame Diva is so very nice, and down to Earth and even recognized my daughter! She was so happy to be recognized, it just made her day! She says “I give her 20 thumbs up”.
Now Rich Aucoin is of a different sort of music, we were a little skeptical of what was going to happen as he isn’t something we would think of as being a family/children’s entertainer! He wasn’t to sure either about entertaining the kids, but it worked! He was very good at interacting and engaging the kids, and dancing under the huge parachute! My 4 year old cracked out of his shell, and just started having a fabulous time! Jumping up on stage, taking risks, talking to people.
Every evening the ‘daytime’ stages go silent, and the Main Stage comes to life! We have had the pleasure to see some amazing artists on stage this year. Some of the acts we were able to catch were:
Wednesday Night: Oh my Darling, Tony Furtado, The Avett Brothers. After The Avatt Brothers, we went back to our campsite put the little ones to bed in the tent and from there we were able to hear the remaining two artists, Dan Bern & City and Colour.
Thursday Night: Indigo Girls, Sarah MacDougall, Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band – We then went back to the campsite put the kids to bed and listened to Del Barber, Serena Ryder, Jason Collett & Colin Meloy (of the Decemberists).
Friday Night: Jordie Lane, Lindi Ortega, Frank Fairfield & Danny Michel with The Garfuna Collective (again kids went to bed) I sat around our bon fire to listen to Rose Cousins, Patrick Watson, Kaki King (We ate Lunch next to her!!) & The Cat Empire – However, my husband was in a dancing mood, So he went back to Main stage after we got the kids to bed so he can dance with the approximate 7,000 people in attendance – I heard it was such a great Rush!
Saturday Night: Habadekuk, D’Harmo, Whitehorse, Aidan Knight, Martin Sexton, (Brought the kids to bed) Heard around the campfire: The Howlin’ Brothers, Dr.John & The Nite Trippers, Sean Rowe & Galactic.
Sunday Night: Bhi Bhiman, The Flatlanders, The JD Edwards Band, Xavier Rudd (he’s an important Musician for us Jones’, he’s sooo talented, and inspirational, we even used “White Moth” as our first wedding dance song), so It was FANTASTIC seeing him on stage again, and we were honored with an “Encore” set!
After Xavier Rudd, we gathered up our items, and walked back towards our vehicle listening to Nathan Rogers singing “The Mary Ellen Carter”.It was truly a magical time and we are looking forward to attending the 2014 Festival!

-Kara Jones

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