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Folkies begin setting up at campground

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The first Folk Fest folks are in the gates and setting up camp.

The 40th annual Winnipeg Folk Festival begins tonight but the main gates to Birds Hill Park opened at 7 a.m. for cyclists who got the first crack at campsites.

One 22-year-old cyclist said he and his group of about 80 were among the first to get in and join the foot-race to get their campsites.

"I've got my tent set up, we biked in so we got in first. It was like a war zone there," the cyclist, who did not want his name used, said laughing. "We always camp in the same area so this year we are about 10 metres away from where were last year so it's good."

He said it is the third-straight year for the group which got their tickets last December.

Dot Ball is a 15-year volunteer who is a coordinator with the Enviro Campground Crew setting up recycling bins, looking after the portable toilets and maintaining the campground.

"We really try to hammer out this 'love your campsite,' use your recycling bin, garbage bags, clean up because there's about 6,500 people that camp here for the whole event. So it's really important to look after the campsites," said Ball, 32. She had her own camping spot set up on-site on Tuesday night so that she and her crew were ready to greet people as they came in.

Ball said people are encouraged to donate their empty beer cans and bottles as the organizers take these to depots and claim the recycling rebates.

"Last year was a record, we had just under $7,000 worth of empties collected," Ball said. "We use that for more fire pits, doing more signage, doing extra cleans and pumping out the port- a-potties and some other campground improvements with that cash."

This year, Ball has a new camper along in her six-month-old daughter Anna.

The box office and wristband stations open at 3 p.m., with the main gate opening at 5 p.m. The music starts at 7 p.m. with the main stage featuring Oh My Darling, The Avett Brothers and City and Colour.

The organizing committee is asking everyone to allow plenty of time to get into the park and be patient as record crowds are expected.

It wraps up Sunday evening.

History

Updated on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM CDT: fixes typo

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