Hopeful folk fest boss elated to say ‘So Long, Bannatyne’
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/11/2021 (264 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
So long virtual concerts, hello Winnipeg Folk Festival workshops.
On Saturday, the music festival is hosting its first live, in-person show since the start of the pandemic. So Long, Bannatyne takes place at the Burton Cummings Theatre with a full slate of Manitoba talent.
“It’s kind of in the spirit of a Folk Festival workshop,” says artistic director Chris Frayer. “What people are gonna experience is a very thoughtful, fun evening that a bunch of creative people had a hand in and a bunch of talented artists are going to help us execute.”
The show includes a house band made up of local artists Jonny Moonbeam, Fontine, Joanna Miller, Kwiat, MJ Dandeneau, Rusty Matyas and Sol James. Musical guests include Andrina Turenne, Boy Golden, Dana Waldie, Diaphanie, JP Hoe, Rayannah, Sebastian Gaskin and The Lytics.
Each artist will play one original song and one cover by another Manitoban musician, “and they’re gonna end with the most epic of all epic melodies,” Frayer says.
The concert was originally planned as a Manitoba 150 event for the 2020 festival. Being able to finally present it two years later in the city feels like a minor victory.
“It feels really optimistic, but we’re also kind of measured in that optimism,” Frayer says, adding that the show will also be available free on YouTube (youtube.com/WinnipegFolkFestival). “We’re doing a really nice professional livestream for folks who just aren’t quite ready to join, aren’t quite comfortable coming to a venue yet.”
The name, So Long, Bannatyne, is a nod to The Guess Who album and title song and a popular refrain for festival staff as they depart their Bannatyne Avenue office and head out to Birds Hill Park for the annual July event.
Indoor concerts such as the ones happening this weekend — the Folk Fest is also presenting The Weather Station at the West End Cultural Centre Saturday — will be something of a barometer for next summer. At the moment, planning for a festival return in 2022 is going full-steam ahead.
“I think the more events that we do safely and we see that there’s no transmission (of COVID-19) happening at, the more comfortable we’ll be,” Frayer says. “For next summer, we’re feeling really good about stuff and working closely with the province and the park… after we didn’t happen the first time I was so confident that ‘21 was gonna happen, but we didn’t have the vaccines (then).”
He points to the sporting events and large concerts happening regularly in Winnipeg for vaccinated attendees as a sign of how much has changed since last fall.
Tickets for So Long, Bannatyne are available through Ticketmaster. Visit winnipegfolkfestival.ca for a full lineup of upcoming Winnipeg Folk Fest concerts.
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.