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Festival express

Your handy guide to some of Manitoba's biggest summer events

Posted: 06/19/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0


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For the average human being, the shortest perceptible experiences include a flash of a laser beam, a millisecond-blast of birdsong and the amount of time you spend laughing during an Adam Sandler movie.

These experiences, though extremely brief, pale in comparison to the subjective perception of a southern Manitoba summer, an utterly glorious yet infinitesimal and fleeting phenomenon that appears to end before it actually begins.

One minute, you're sitting down to enjoy your first patio beverage of the season, the next, you're shovelling snow and fumbling for your extension cord.

To make the most of your precious summer, here are some of the festivals you may partake in while you're pondering the very nature of perception and pouring yourself a beer:

Winnipeg International Jazz Festival

Until June 22, downtown Winnipeg


What you get: The final four days of the annual jazz shindig, which includes some actual jazz this year.

What you won't get: A do-over of last weekend's free concert series at Old Market Square, which was all but drowned out by torrential rain.

Headliners: Arturo Sandoval (June 19), Ellis Marsalis (June 20), John Legend (June 21) and St. Vincent (June 22).

Tickets and more info: jazzwinnipeg.com


Dauphin's Countryfest

June 26-29, Selo Ukraina site


What you get: 56 country, roots and rock performers north of Riding Mountain -- and the hardest-partying campground outside of Sturgis.

What you won't get: Attitude for wearing nothing but a cowboy hat, a swimsuit and flip-flops all weekend.

Headliners: Blake Shelton, Tim Hicks, Brett Kissel and Rascal Flatts.

Tickets: Weekend passes are sold out. So are Friday, Saturday and Sunday passes. Thursday passes are $79.

More info: countryfest.ca


Winnipeg Folk Festival

July 9-13, Birds Hill Park

What you get: 82 folk, roots and indie-pop acts performing on 10 stages over five days in the closest thing to Burning Man in Manitoba without... well, having to burn any actual men.

What you won't get: A coherent sentence out of anyone on Sunday morning.

Headliners: Ani DiFranco, Joan Baez, Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Buffy Sainte-Marie and John Hammond.

Tickets: Before June 30, weekend passes are $245 for adults, $145 for youths & seniors and free for kids 12 and under. Camping is an additional $75. Day passes range from $48 to $83.

More info: www.winnipegfolkfestival.com


Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival

July 16-27, Exchange District

What you get: A festival-record 178 theatre, comedy and musical productions scattered about 30 venues within walking distance of Old Market Square.

What you won't get: Anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Headliners: This year's lineup includes Chase Padgett of 6 Guitars fame, sometime-clown Chris Kauffman, comedy troupe Sound + Fury and the mask-carrying Wonderheads.

Tickets: No more than $10 a show; $94 Frequent Fringer passes get you into 12 of them.

More info: www.winnipegfringe.com


Morris Stampede & Exhibition

July 17-20, Morris

What you get: "Manitoba's only pro rodeo."

What you won't get: Anti-rodeo Manitobans.

More info: manitobastampede.ca


Brandon Folk Music & Art Festival

July 25-27, Keystone Centre Grounds

What you get: An excuse to visit your buds in Brandon and see some folk music in an urban setting.

What you won't get: Wheat Kings. There may, however, be pretty things.

Headliners: Martin Sexton, Cold Specks and Mariachi Ghost.

Tickets: Early-bird weekend passes are $64, or $56 for students and seniors.

More info: brandonfolkfestival.ca


Rockin' the Fields of Minnedosa

Aug. 1-3, Lake Minnedosa

What you get: Classic rock and other bands with amps that go up to 11.

What you won't get: Anyone sneering at your case of Bud Light Lime.

Headliners: The Sheepdogs, Brett Michaels and Three Days Grace.

Tickets: Weekend passes are $160, day passes are $60 and camping is $60.

More info: rockinthefields.ca


Canada's National Ukrainian Festival

Aug. 1-3, Selo Ukraina Site

What you get: A gathering of garlic-sausage worshippers south of Dauphin.

What you won't get: Any remnant of the hangover you nursed at Countryfest.

More info: www.cnuf.ca



Aug. 1-4, Gimli

What you get: The 125th celebration of Icelandic settlement on the shore of Lake Winnipeg, complete with "Viking village warfare tactics."

What you won't get: A chance to train a dragon. That was just a movie, man.

More info: www.icelandicfestival.com



Aug. 3-16, Winnipeg

What you get: A smidgeon of the music, food and culture favoured by 43 nationalities or ethnic groups that call Winnipeg home. The U.K. pavilion is back this year and there's a new Andean pavilion.

What you won't get: An Antarctic pavilion, featuring nothing but penguins and krill.

Tickets: $6 per pavilion, five admissions for $25 or 12-ticket fun packs for $54.

More info: www.folklorama.ca


Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition

Aug. 14-17, downtown Winnipeg

What you get: Free electronic music at The Cube in Old Market Square and clubs shows at Union Sound Hall, the Pyramid Cabaret and Pantages Playhouse.

What you won't get: Arrhythmia, thanks to all the incessant oonts-OONTS-oontsing.

Headliners: Kevin Saunderson, Blond:Ish and the Spy From Cairo.

Tickets: Weekend passes are $60.

More info: www.memetic.ca


Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival

Aug. 16-17, Shaw Park

What you get: A weekend of blues and a $10,000-cash-prize barbecue competition, now at the downtown baseball diamond instead of way out west at the Red River Ex grounds.

What you won't get: Any lighter.

Headliners: Robert Cray Band, Colin James and Eddie Shaw.

Tickets: Weekend passes are $49.50 and day passes are $34.50 until July 6.

More info: winnipegbbqandblues.ca


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2014 D1

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