Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Capital campaign raising funds for fest's future

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The Winnipeg Folk Festival is asking everyone to play his or her part.

The festival's Staging the Future capital campaign has just launched the Play Your Part ad campaign as part of a final push as it aims to reach its $6-million site-redevelopment fundraising goal by the end of the year.

"The festival is the one time where all of our clientele, our audience, is together and gets to come talk to us," says Carolyn Basha, Folk Festival manager of resource development and director of the Staging the Future campaign.

"It's a great thing to come share whatever you think about what we're doing and we're also encouraging whatever gift people can make towards this. Sometimes people get overshadowed by the bigger gifts, which of course we're appreciative of, but every single person participating helps."

The site-redevelopment plan at Birds Hill Park includes a new entrance at the main gate, two new forest stages, a new festival village, improved mainstage seating, path improvements, drainage upgrades, an emergency access road, the relocation of the food vendors, a new backstage kitchen facility and some campground improvements, such as more park shelters and electricity hook-ups for mobile-device charging stations.

The first phase of the project, the backstage cooking area for volunteers and artists, has been completed, and a service road for the new food village area has been constructed.

The festival hopes the entrance upgrades will be completed by next year and the entire plan will be finished by 2014.

"With the festival happening in between, you have to kind of carve it up, before-festival and after-festival," Basha says. "There are some complexities around the food vending area and the stages in terms of the hydro work. It's a huge undertaking. You can't do it halfway. Once you cut the hydro you have to fully finish it or you have nothing."

The festival is hoping to raise $3 million in private funding and access $3 million in public money. So far, the campaign has raised $2.2 million in private money and $1.8 million in grants.

A kiosk near the Handmade Village includes details about the site plan, a map and a suggestion box about what to name the two new forest stages located in the trees north of the Handmade Village.

People who donate $50 or more will receive a commemorative banjo pin or can opt for a tax receipt.

Festival-goers can sign up for tours to see what has been completed backstage.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2012 E10

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